The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, has said that quack journalists were mostly responsible for blackmail, fake news and hate speech in Nigeria due to lack of even basic rudiments of journalism.
Rafsanjani said this yesterday in Abuja, at the Campus Journalism Awards 2019 organised by Youths Digest and the CISLAC.
He said persons who falsely pretend to have knowledge of journalism but only care for money have invaded the profession thereby creating problems for the profession and the society.
According to him, most of the quacks in the profession are responsible for causing trouble and that due to their lack of training they perpetrate fake news, blackmail and other vices.
“This is because anybody who has been trained as a journalist will keep to the ethics of professional. Journalism is not a business for accumulating money, it is about sacrifice to the nation by being responsible and being a voice to the voiceless,” Rafsanjani said.
He urged the student journalists and those intending to practice after graduation to keep to the ethics and values of the progression to serve with love and not because of what they would get.
The President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Malam Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo, urged the young journalists to embrace the gate keeping role of journalism to enhance good governance.
According to him, it was the social responsibility of journalists to be the watch dog of the society and that indulging in bad attitudes that hampered the integrity of the profession would defeat that aim.
He said that these days, the gate keeping role of journalism was being relegated due to money factor and urged them to shun unethical acts.
He said, “During our time, there was nothing as fake news or hate speech but today, the society is now dynamic so you have more responsibility to be on the guard against such acts.”
The Editor, Youths Digest, Mr. Gidado Yushau Shuaib, said that 241 entries were received out which 30 finalists emerged for the awards before the 15 winners were selected.
He said that campus journalism was faced with many challenges including victimisation by school management, absence of mentorship and lack of funds among others.
He said, “This is really disturbing as one wonders the kind of society we are building if the formative agents in out tertiary institutions are seen to be gagging our press. We took note of these challenges and birthed a dialogue platform to address issues of unethical practices on the campus.”
Also, the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar, called for specialized training and professionalism on social justice reporting by the media.
“I am of strong opinion that social justice reporting can be taught at the university and encouraged by the media to focus more on Legal and Civil Rights, Gender inequality and child abuse, human trafficking and domestic violence, equity and fairness, transparency and accountability towards better-informed citizens and a prosperous nation,” he said.
Fifteen winners of the campus journalists from various higher institutions in Nigeria and Ghana were presented with awards.
Miss Maryam Abdullahi of Department of European Languages, Uthman Danfodio University Sokoto, emerged the overall winner as the Campus Journalist of the Year.
She was also offered automatic employment by CISLAC and an all-expense-paid-trip to attend an International Conference in the United States of America.
Other awardees include Abdulsalam Mahmud, a Mass Communication graduate of Fati Lami Abubakar Institute of General and Administrative Studies (FLAILAS) Minna, who won the ‘Upcoming Writer,’; Ekpali Joseph, 400-Level Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) won the ‘Best Feature Reporter’; Ibrahim Adeyemi of Usman Dan-Fodio University (UDUS) won the ‘Best Campus Editor,’ while Emmanuel Ayamga of the Ghana Institute of Journalism won the ‘Sports Reporter’ award.
Also, Daud Adebayo, a student of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), received the ‘Best Magazine’ award on behalf of UNILORIN Watch; Adejumo Kabir, an English student of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) won the ‘Photojournalist of the Year’ award, while Aondover Eric of Bayero University Kano (BUK) won the ‘Best Author’ award.