Okowa advises online publishers on fair, balanced reporting
DELTA State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has advised social and online media practitioners to adhere strictly to the principles of fairness and balance in their publications. Okowa made the call in Lagos at the formal launch of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN).
According to the governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, “As far as I am concerned, if a medium constantly publishes verifiable truth, it is for the good of the society, as long as the principles of fairness and balance are strictly adhered to. Let the truth be your watchword at all times. It is only truth that can stand the test of time and make those who disagree with you to earn your respect.”
Okowa further advised that writers should also seek to answer pertinent questions, saying, “There are questions that writers should always seek answers: is my intention to build? Is my quest for the public good? Will it promote good governance and sustainable development? These are the salient questions that need to be addressed in the course of your duties.
The President of OPAN, Olufemi Awoyemi, highlighted the high level of internet penetration in Nigeria, saying the need for standardization and regulation has become imperative. He said the association has set what obtains in the Euro Zone and the United States of America (USA) as its benchmark.
Country Manager of Google Nigeria, Mrs. Juliet Ehimuan Chiazor, said the time had come for publishers to put on a new thinking cap because all over the world today, “We don’t just go online; we live online. About 50 million Nigerians are online and online transcends geographical boundaries.
Guest speaker, Chairman, ThisDay newspapers and president, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nduka Obaigbena, described online as a mass distribution platform for media and journalism. He said what has changed was bringing in the digital age and therefore advised online publishers to adhere strictly to the core tenets of journalism.