Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has tasked media professionals to take control of the new media space in the country, saying their activities if not well managed, could serve as major setbacks for the profession.
Osinbajo also urged the media to ensure that members adhere strictly to the code of ethics to preserve the sanctity of the profession.
He made the remarks, yesterday, at the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), 2019 Biennial Convention, in Lagos, held under the theme, ‘Media Convergence as Strategy for Survival,” which was also attended by the Acting Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, among others, lamenting persistent distortion of facts by handlers of the new media in the country.
While stressing that the advent of the new media has become a threat to the sanctity of the profession, the Vice President stated that for the media professionals and their organizations to respond to those threats posed by some new media handlers, they must embrace the paradigm shift immediately and control the new media content.
He said: “Fake news has put a spot light on this noble profession. And it is important for the media professionals and their organisations to take control of the new media because this is the only way the profession’s sole product will be relevant often.”
Osinbajo, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Laolu Akande, warned that if they fail to take over the new media, “Fake news will make the media profession lose its appeal in Nigeria.”
Corroborating the Vice President, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said that the absence of regulatory mechanism of the new media content and “its convergence with the traditional media in the discharge of these age-long duties of the media must be critically addressed for the continued existence and survival of the media.”
Mohammed, who was represented by Sunday Baba, noted that the media has been a very important pillar in the sustenance of the country’s democratic process serving as the credible source of balanced information for the public.
Osinbajo and the burden of leadership
The Chairman of the convention, Dan Agbese, stressed that media organizations must re-strategies to sustain their relevance in the society.
Agbese noted that the challenges facing the Nigeria were because the media organizations have relapsed in their duties of shaping the agenda for the society.
While addressing the congregation, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that persistent criticism of his administration through the media was responsible for the development witnessed across the state.
Ambode, who was represented by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, added that the administration also received accurate reportage from the media organizations which aided the public believe in the administration.
“What we have witnessed in Lagos state in the past four years and particularly the commissioning of transformational projects in recent times bear testimony to the fact that your criticisms and suggestions towards a livable megacity have contributed to our policy formulation and execution”, he said.
The Vice President and Ambode were later presented with commendation plagues by the Guild for their support and commitment to the media profession.