To fight off fake news and safeguard society from the adverse effects of rumour mongering and propaganda, Nigerians have been advised to check for elements of credibility in reports and consult media platforms with proven integrity in sourcing for news and information.
A lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, University of Benin, Mr. Sunday Ekerikevwe, made the submission during the maiden Departmental Lecture series of the Department of Mass Communication, Edo State Polytechnic, Usen.
The lecture themed Fake News and Media Credibility, is the first scholarly discourse organised by the department, which affords academics and industry players opportunity to interface with the polytechnic community and share their experience and knowledge to contribute to societal growth and development.
In the lecture titled the gains of new media and the burden of fake news – how to sustain the culture of truth-based journalism, Ekerikevwe said that it was expedient for journalists to stick to the truth when reporting and ensure they don’t give room for fake news in the media. He noted that the ubiquitous nature of social media has made journalism more tasking and placed more responsibility on journalists, which behooves them to protect the image of journalism and not allow quacks to run them out of business.
He said fake news is one of the unethical practices in journalism, because when information is adulterated, it holds grave consequencies for society.
He urged the students and staff of the polytechnic to verify the credibility of their source in determining whether to believe a news story or not, calling on them to “look out for credibility, supportive evidence such as pictures and videos, among others.”
Dean, School of Engineering, Engr. Cedric Oviawe, who represented the institution’s Rector Prof. Abiodun Falodun, said modalities are in place to improve the learning environment in the Department of Mass Communication with the setting up of a state-of-the-art mass communication studio.