ABUJA – A guidebook designed to train journalists on spoting and countering authoritarian export in Nigerian media space was on Friday unveiled in Abuja with participants raising alarm over Chinese role.
At a training workshop for journalists as part of the unveiling, guest speakers and participants described the guidebook as an eye opener as it exposes unnoticed Chinese infiltration of Nigerian media space in alleged pursuit of exportation of her ideological agenda in Nigeria.
The organisers of the event, Sahel Standard Media in a statement by the project manager, Farouk Mohammed, described the guidebook as “the first of its kind in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa to study and identify how China deploys sharp practices in the Nigerian media space and how this impacts democratic life in Nigeria.
“The guidebook identifies key tactics that Chinese operatives deploy in media influencing operations and also included strategies and means of countering such Maligning Influences. The guidebook also included long list of negative impact of such Chinese practices on Nigerian democracy.
“The guidebook is a goldmine of previously unpublished and unarticulated reality of China’s media influence. We expect this guidebook to empower journalists and media operatives to protect free press and democratic norms and practices”, Mr Mohammed said.
Dr Anule Emmanuel in his presentation, ‘Tracking and Countering Maligning Influences in News Rooms’ said, we must understand that we are basically watchdogs as journalists and it is our core responsibility to checkmate the government with our reportage.
He said to counter maligning influences in the new rooms we must be inquisitive and have investigative spirit, analytical mind, courage, integrity and patriotic.
“With good combination of our watchdog roles as the fourth estate of the realm and taking responsibilities of putting government in constant check, reveal abuse of state authority and protect the constitutional rights of citizens it is possible to detect, track and counter maligning influences in our new room.
The Deputy President, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Danlami Nmodu, in his presentation, “Democracy, Authorisation and Media: Choice for Free Press” also revealed that free press is to protect and enhance the health of the society.
He urged journalists to strive to protect Nigeria’s democracy, adding that people have paid the price to ensure democracy stands even though Nigeria’s democracy is not perfect but that it should be guarded jealously.
“The press which has a constitutional role has always been under all manner of threats all through history. Let us help make the press free to serve the national interest better, to ensure robust debate. In fact, it is in the interest of the people, elite and all, for the press to remain free. We all need it always and especially at most critical junctures. Let us continue to nourish free press.”
Mr Martins Ode, a doctoral student in media arts, University of Abuja, also stated in his presentation, ‘Chinese Influence and Democracy: The Growing Threat’, said the must at this stage clear the illusion about dividends of democracy adding that the dividends of democracy are not the full employment, food on the table, light in the homes, and working telephones.
“The truth, however, is that democracy has more to offer than food and good things of life. Democracy is democracy because of freedom of expression and liberty; and the vehicle for measuring the quantum of freedom and liberty in any climes is the media of mass communication which do not exist in a vacuum.”
He added that the objectives of his paper was to expose participants to the realities of the arguably negative entreaties of China to Nigeria and to strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian Journalists to become a smart maven that can easily decipher and counter those measures.