Facing Fakes! Senate Ready to Partner NUJ to Check Quackery

Quackery in journalism is about to become a thing of the past in Nigeria as the Senate has expressed readiness to partner the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to check activities of fakes in the profession.

Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Port Harcourt.

Abdullahi said there were many fake journalists and online media platforms that indulged only on “cut and paste” journalism that is inimical to development.

He said the profession had become free to all, adding that it was affecting the integrity of media houses in the country.

The lawmaker said those who had forcefully infiltrated the profession were not journalists because they lacked the requisite professional qualification and training to practice.

“Today, we are faced with serious challenge of people who have never gone through any training – tutelage, mentorship – but are parading themselves as journalists by syndicating news.

“The National Assembly is ready to work with NUJ should it come up with a self-regulatory framework that will tell who is a journalist and who is not.

“The framework that will be chartered by law will clearly define how the union will be properly regulated.

“Journalists should consider this kind of framework for themselves and by themselves, so that at the end they are in charge of their affairs,” he said.

Abdullah said that until the union separated the ‘’chaff from the grains”, the industry would remain an all-comers affair.

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He further said the senate in the past took steps to sanitize the industry through the Frivolous Petition (Prohibition) Bill 2015 that sought to outlaw fake news.

The senator said the media and Civil Society Organisations protested against the bill by tagging it “Anti-Social Media Bill’’ which led to its withdrawal.

“Today, that same challenge of fake news that the Senate saw and tried to tackle had become a monster.

“There are steps that must be taken which legislation is part of it but before then, the union must look inwards and try to do some house cleansing within its fold to tackle this challenge,’’ he said.

Abdullahi said: “if they take the lead, we will not have the narrative of anyone saying that the media is being muscled or emasculated in its activities.

“The media has more roles to play in this regard. We at the National Assembly can partner with them to enact a workable legislation to protect the good image of the media.”

Abdullahi, however, urged mainstream media organisations to maintain their domineering presence on the social media with the view to checking activities of fake media sites. (NAN)

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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