Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has expressed concern over the widespread prevalence of false news and disinformation. On Wednesday, the president gave opening remarks at the 19th Nigeria Editors Conference 2023, themed “Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: The Role of the Media.” held at the Ibom Icon Hotel in Uyo Akwa Ibom State. Represented by Mohammed Idris, the minister of information and national orientation, he said that the federal government is implementing a sustained mass reorientation campaign to address the broad decline in morality in the country by promoting unity, nationalism, and positive characteristics among Nigerians.
As a result, he issued a call to the Editors of Nigeria to unite behind the effort to promote moral rectitude among Nigerians. He stated that they are dealing with an increase in the dissemination of false information and narratives that pose a threat to the society fabric. It is everyone’s responsibility to combat this threat by fact-checking, ethical reporting, and encouraging media and digital literacy. These are the tools that will allow people to strengthen their defences against the damaging impact of a false narrative.
Editors should promote democratic ideals in their reporting.
In the face of an impending systemic moral collapse over a long period that poses a threat to national values, With great delight, he is pleased to inform them that the Ministry of Information and National Orientation is actively working to change the narrative through the implementation of the campaign. They aim to realign Nigerians as a whole toward a more unified national identity and set of values. As a result, he pleads to all of the Editors to back this initiative to promote morality in Nigeria.
Furthermore, in his remarks, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno, encouraged the Nigerian Guild of Editors to promote democratic ideals in the country by fostering good governance in their reporting. This will strengthen the democratic foundation of the nation. He pleaded with them to make use of the media in order to create a new model of reporting, one that is geared toward development and in which the leaders are held accountable in a manner that is not overly obtrusive.
When distributing editorial products, fact-checking tools should be used.
No one wants the media to be government cheerleaders, but when reporting the news, reporters must tread lightly so as not to disrupt social order. According to Eno, one must have a country before openly practising their profession. The governor, speaking to the Nigeria Union of Journalists Akwa Ibom Council, acknowledged the media for their support of his administration and pledged to push forward a narrative of governance centred on ensuring that people in rural areas benefit from democracy and have faith in their government.
Eze Anaba, the president of the Nigeria Guild of Editors, emphasised the importance of the conference as a means by which editors could help advance the country and its media industry. Anaba charged colleagues with producing fair, accurate, authentic and balanced reports. He also urged them to use fact-checking tools when distributing editorial products to the public, as this is the only practical way for them to fulfil their constitutional duty under Section 22 of holding the powerful accountable and defending democratic principles, the rule of law, human rights and good governance.
Political actors to refrain from suppressing the press.
Lastly, he also urged political actors to refrain from suppressing the press, saying that they should always keep in mind that a free press is similar to oxygen to a democracy. Under any guise, there should be no attempt made to stifle the press or reduce the freedom of expression or the freedom of the media. Similarly, Sam Amuka Pemu, the publisher of Vanguard Newspapers and the conference chairman, bemoaned the dire economic circumstances facing the nation and reminded the editors always to take out inappropriate material when distributing information to the public.