NMMA 2021: Gov Yahaya Bello advises Journalists on regulating social media

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NMMA 2021: Gov Yahaya Bello advises Journalists on regulating social media

Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello has described the media as the “Fourth Estate” of the realm, adding that the media holds more power than the three arms of government combined. He calls for an enabling environment that will enhance the growth of a free, vibrant press in the country.

Bello said this while delivering his welcome address at the opening session of the 2021 Nigerian Media Merit Awards (NMMA), held in Lokoja, Kogi State.

While reminding media practitioners of their enviable position as the conscience of the society, the Governor also described the media as a big heart at the centre of the nation.

He acknowledged the importance of the three arms of Government, noting that the ‘fourth estate’ is equally powerful, due to the fact that modern society cannot do without journalists.

He said the world would be a scary dark place without the Journalism profession, pointing out that aside from dispelling falsehood, eliminating dangerous assumptions, they provide societies with the basic premises upon which governance and other decisions can be made.

The governor disclosed that while journalists help to bring order to society and encourage human cooperation, he, however, lamented that lives and whole societies have been ruined by the irresponsible practice of journalism by some media practitioners, or quacks who impersonate them.

“The problem is so endemic that in Q3 2020 alone, statistics show there were 1.8 billion engagements with fake news on Facebook alone! Nigeria, like many countries, has fallen victim to it many times, sometimes with the devastating loss of lives or properties.

”The Press is, therefore, one of the inescapable hallmarks of modern society and in particular, the custodian of public perception. What a divine responsibility”.

The Governor called on the media to have proper regulation as constituted by the law to avoid malfunction, stressing that practitioners must recognise that due to the incredible powers which society has entrusted to them, there is a corresponding demand for responsibility, ethics and professionalism in the exercise of those powers by journalists.

Bello also called on journalists to strive hard and take back their profession from quacks, especially the myriad of unregulated persons armed with internet-enabled devices who haunt the media space mostly on social media.

The Governor described the Nigerian Media Merit Awards (NMMA) Trust as perhaps one of the most important institutions in existence, he said by rewarding merit in the way individuals and media houses practice journalism, the NMMAs provide critical motivation for the real journalists to do their work professionally.

He noted that by so doing, the NMMA would help promote sanity in the media industry and simultaneously function as an accountability partner for most professional journalists.

NMMA 2021: Gov Yahaya Bello advises Journalists on regulating social media

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