Online Publishers rally against ‘Fake News’

Media entrepreneurs, under the aegis of Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) met on Tuesday in Lagos to device ways of curbing the spread of fake news in Nigeria.
The Annual New Media Conference, which considered the theme: New Media as the Future of the 4th Estate in Nigeria and had in attendance online journalists, publishers, bloggers, PR consultants and social media influencers across Nigeria, also sought to restore the eroding credibility of the of the new media.
The President of OPAN, Mr Austyn Ogannah, in his address highlighted that the forum, was as well designed to look at means through which the association can significantly boost quality of media contents in line with best practices in the industry globally.
Mr Ogannah said OPAN was at the forefront of giving clear guidelines, leadership, direction and curbing the debilitating effect of fake news in the country.
During the first session, the distinguished panel of discussants considered the topic “Curbing Fake News In the Digital Media” and “New Media as an Engine of Economic Growth,Tool for Driving Government Policies and Civic Engagement”.
The Panel, comprising Mr Dapo Olorunyomi (Publisher, Premium Times), Adesuwa Onyenokwe (Veteran Journalist and Host, Seriously Speaking), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi (Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress), Mr Kola Ologbondiyan (Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party) and Mr Ishmael Ahmed(SA to the President on Social Investments), posited that truth and accuracy, setting guidelines, adopting fact-checking processes for news stories, proper verification, while validating OPAN as a body that can be reckoned with in the online media space.
They also advised practitioners to avail themselves of the Freedom Of Information Bill, as this would help in ensuring that information disseminated are credible.
For the session exploring “New Media as an Engine of Economic Growth,Tool for Driving Government Policies and Civic Engagement” panelists Mr Richard Mofe-Damijo(Ace Actor, Former Commissioner in Delta State), Hon Victor Ochei (Former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly), Mr  Isichei Osamgbi (Head, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Shipping Authority, NIMASA), and Mr Chude Jideonwo (Co-Founder, Red Media) explored the value creation model that can be derived from the New Media, that can drive the economy, government policies and civic engagement.
They harped on increase broadband penetration in the country, to deepen the digital space participation by the populace and called for an open space for engagement in the new media industry.
Giving his remarks at the event Mr Mustapha Chike-Obi an Economist and former MD, AMCON stressed the need for the Nigerian new media space, to reposition itself to positively impact the social, economic and political space.
Other Panel sessions at the event were the “The Future of the New Media/Online Media/Social Media” and “How to Monetize Your Platform and Earn Income”.