By Ogechi Emeana
A professor of Mass Communication in Imo State University (IMSU) Owerri, Prof. Dede Konkwo, has blamed the issue of fake news on activities of untrained news hunters, usually termed citizen journalists.
Prof. Konkwo was delivering a lecture at the maiden bi-annual Media Talk in Owerri Imo State, organized by the Centre for Community Advancement and Investigative Reporting (CC-AIR).
He said that the citizen journalists are posing a threat to the society as they pollute the business of journalism with fake news.
The media export, whose lecture was entitled Fake News Among Practicing journalists’ therefore, emphasized the need for media houses to adequately train their practitioners in journalism and mass communication.
“There should be no room for untrained and unqualified persons to venture into the profession”, he said, adding that even publishers and directors in the media organizations ought to be trained.
Prof. Konkwo also noted that some media organizations, in consideration of the high cost of investigative reporting, resort to sourcing news from the cheapest areas that might be fraught with fake news.
Also speaking at the media talks with the theme “Hate Speech and Fake News as weapons of mass destruction”, the Zonal Director of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Enugu Zone, Engr. Susan Obi, represented by Pat Nwafor, described hate speech as worse than Ebota and cancer.
Obi urged journalists to always investigate stories and avoid any form of hate speech.
The NBC director regretted that the society has turned around to depend on the unregulated media, such as the social media, for their information needs.
She emphasized the power and influence of the mass media on the society, especially the broadcast media, in information dissemination, saying that the regulated media are more reliable and credible.
She enjoined media practitioners to abide by their traditional roles of informing, educating and entertaining the public but, most essentially, to enlighten the public on the implications of hate speech.
The President of CC-AIR, High Chief Kennedy Zanders said, that his organization designed the event for media owners and practitioners in Imo State.
According to him, the objectives of CC-AIR include among others, to promote the practice of investigative reporting, to encourage self-help, provide legal aid, material support or grants for distressed journalists in execution of their duties as well as present awards for outstanding performances in investigative reporting and community services.
Former chairman of Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) Chief Chima Chukwunyere, bagged an award at the occasion for selfless services he had rendered to the state.
Top media practitioners in Imo State participated in the event.