By Racheal Opkoru
The internet has become an important news medium for Nigerians in recent years, as traditional outlets are increasingly burdened by high operating costs or subject to editorial interference.
Therefore the Social-media platforms have been proved influential as an alternative source of information and opinion.
This was made known during a press summit organized by the center of constitutional governance in conjunction with the US consulate general Lagos, Edetean ojo Executive director, media Right Agenda, advocated the need to enhance press freedom and the defense of journalists.
Edetean however pointed some challenges which has impedes the freedom of the press which includes promotion of transparency, lack of regulation of power, imposibity in holding government accountable to wrong doings and corruption among journalist.
Freedom of expression, he said, goes to the very heart of what it means to be human. Thus, press freedom is fundamental to the exercise of other human rights and the dignity of the citizen to make contributions to societal development.
He also added that the summit was put together to also reduce the pace of press freedom in Nigeria to address some problems confronting the effectiveness of journalism.
Prof. Abigail ogwezzy-Ndisika of the department of mass communication, university of Lagos who spoke on journalism and the social media said that, with the use of social media to report news the consumer perception of real time news is changed thus significantly influencing the direction and practice of journalism in Nigeria.
She added that social media and blogs cannot replace the traditional journalism, but they are layers of information to existing news sources as social media is able to move information quickly among a large group of people, providing a valuable two-way engagement with the audience, changing significantly how journalists communicate to their audiences and receives the audience’s feedback.
Notwithstanding the power of the social media to transfer information across the world instantaneously Prof. Abigail urged journalists to verify and evaluate news contents found on social media before they are reported.
Lekan Otufundurin the managing director, The Nation Newspaper (online) in a statement added that the Nigerian journalists should operate on the core value of journalism irrespective of the new media (social media) and freedom of the press as freedom of a journalist does not in any way equate irresponsibility.