By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Managing Director of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) TV Enterprises, Mr. Maxwell Loko, has charged practitioners of Online Journalism to ensure that basic tenets of journalism such as accuracy and unbiased reportage are adhered to and to also regulate themselves so as to continue winning the confidence of readers and followers.
Mr. Loko stated this in Abuja on Wednesday, when the National Assembly New Media paid a courtesy visit to the NTA headquarters to honour him for his role at ensuring Nigeria actualised the transition from analog to digital broadcasting.
“There is no denying the fact that, the online journalism, whether we like it or not, has come to stay with us and it is going to be here for a very long time. The online media is of course, the future of the media.
“Practitioners of Online Journalism weild a lot of powers, that’s where the dilemma lies. We are aware that the online media is still largely unregulated. The dilemma is that, here you are with so much enormous powers and capacity to influence, yet, you are operating in an unstructured and unregulated environment. So, it comes with a lot of temptations for unwholesome and unethical practices.
“That’s why people like us will continuously appeal to a forum like yours that regulations start from you as individuals. If you like, you can call it self censorship. You should begin to regulate yourself.
“Because, either we like it or not, the basic tenets of journalism, amongst others, are accuracy and unbiased reportage. As popular as your own subsector in the industry is, there are many cases where people doubt the authenticity of your information, and when that becomes the norm, people begin to doubt your accuracy.
“Because you are not regulated, it will also put a lot of burden on you, to convince your mass followers that whatever comes from you can also be accurate.
“So, you do not wait for a restructured regulatory framework to ensure that is done. It is when you begin to regulate yourself and you can not do it except through a forum like yours.
“What is exciting most of us is that, when the systems allover the world are grabling with the regulatory framework on how to curtail the excesses of the social media and online journalism, we have people who have taken it upon themselves that, ‘we can regulate ourselves, we can actually operate within the realm of professional journalism'”, Loko stated.
He debunked the believe of many people that the New Media was in direct competition with the mainstream media, adding that, the online journalists were only complementing the traditional media, since they all work towards the same objectives, “of making sure the voiceless has a voice; that the truth is told; that we will act as the nexus between those who have the powers and those who completely do not have powers”.
Mr. Loko charged the Online Journalists covering the National Assembly not to be responsible to Members of National Assembly alone, but also to people who are outside and depend on them for factual information, “for accurate information, so that you would become that critical nexus that is always necessary in dissemination of information to those we believe are the voiceless”.
Earlier, Chairman of NASS New Media, Comrade Yemi Itodo extolled the leadership qualities of Mr. Loko, whom he described as “an astute Administrator, a diligent achiever and an incorruptible Manager”, worthy of celebration.
“Your nomination for recognition as ‘Administrator of the Year’ was not unconnected to your uncommon attitude to public service and your expertise contributions at ensuring Nigeria actualized the transition from analog to digital broadcasting.
“By your membership of the switchover committee and with your deep experience in the broadcast industry, we have no doubt that Nigeria and Nigerians would be grateful to you, that your vast knowledge of modern techniques in global communication have helped positioned the country in favourable competition amongst the comity of nations.
“Also, your innovative idea at introducing the StarTimes TV in the Nigerian market few years ago, has not only significantly reduced the monopoly of the existing service providers and making Nigerians pay less for quality services; it has also greatly bridged the gap between the private sector and public corporations”, Itodo said.