The Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria(ACSPN), Ebonyi State Chapter has called for an end to fake news in the country.
The association said fake news was more dangerous than bombs in society and called for an end to the menace in the country.
The association stated this at the Permanent Site of Ebonyi State University(EBSU) during its 2023 empowerment lecture series with the theme “Curbing Online Fake News in Nigeria”.
The event attracted many notable personalities in the media and politics including the first Professor of Mass Communication in Sub-Sharan Africa, Professor Stella Okunna, Professor Nnayelugo Okolo another Professor of Mass Communication, Wife of Ebonyi State Governor, Mary-Maudline Uzoamaka Nwifuru, the state government functionaries, many lecturers within and outside Ebonyi State University among others.
The Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Eugene Nweke who declared the event open described fake news as more dangerous than a bomb.
He commended the organizers of the empowerment lecture series for the event and called for its sustenance.
“We are proud to identify with you on this empowerment lecture series. This program highlights the importance of media and press in National Transformation and I urge you to sustain this program hoping that is an opportunity for social change, advocating against fake news which is more dangerous than bomb”, he stated.
In her address, the wife of the state Governor, Mrs. Mary-Maudline Uzoamaka Nwifuru said the choice of topic for the empowerment lecture series was timely because of the damage fake news has caused in the country.
She, therefore called for concerted efforts to end the menace saying that it can lead to loss of lives and properties, endless war, hatred, bitterness, and rancor.
“Your choice of topic-Curbing Online Fake News in Nigeria is timely considering the destructive nature of fake news in our society.
“Fake news which is false or misleading information presented as news is devastating and causing a big problem in the state. It can even lead to loss of lives and properties as well as endless war, hatred, bitterness, and rancor.
“I will like to call for collaboration between the government and the academia in the fight against fake news in Ebonyi State to ensure that we project the state in a good way in the society”, she said.
Also in her speech, the Vice Chairman of ACSPN, South East, Professor Ifeyinwa Nsude lamented the astronomical increase in fake news and the speed at which it is disseminated in society today.
She noted that it is in recognition of the media role in society that the association meets regularly to exchange ideas on how to produce students who will fit into the media industry.
According to her, many universities have unbundled Mass Communication into nine departments under the faculty of Communication.
She listed the nine departments as; Journalism and Media Study, Broadcasting, Public Relations, Advertising, Development Communication, Film and Multi-Media Studies, ICT and Media Studies, Strategic Communication, and Mass Communication to enable those who are already in the program to graduate.
“The essence of the new curriculum is to ensure that we produce students in line with the media industry, thereby filling the lacuna that existed between communication scholars in the classroom and professionals in the media industry.
“This symbiotic relationship is very important if the media should perform their watchdog role in society. There is no doubt that the media and communication as a whole wield enormous power”, Nsude stated.
In his lecture, Professor Nnayelugo Okolo lamented that fake news was fast destroying the fabric of the journalism profession and commended the association for organizing the empowerment lecture series which he described as very timely.
He noted that fake news does a lot of damage to the credibility of the journalism profession and the well-being of any country.
“For so many years now, fake news has become an official issue because of the way the people who engage in this nefarious activity have been handling that.
“As we all know, fake news does a lot of damage to the credibility of the journalism profession and the well-being of any country.
“In many instances, what is reported is exactly the opposite of the true situation. As a result, the integrity of professionalism and the nation as a polity is largely impugned”, he said.
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