Guild of Corporate Online Publishers has been inaugurated in Lagos to spearhead the fight against irresponsible online publishing
| By Anayo Ezugwu | Nov 2, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE need for online publishers in Nigeria to be professional, reliable and trustworthy in its news reportage was the conventional wisdom of participants at the formal launching of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, in Lagos. Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media, who represented the presidency, said the guild had to realise that online publishing had the good side that needed to be protected and the bad side that must be done away with.
He cited the case of three online publishers who were arrested because of the malicious stories they published on their websites, saying that the publishers have to correct the lapses noticed among its members by continuously doing peer reviews. “Those who see online publishing as license and liberty to do anything against anybody could not be quite right. An association like this should be able to sieve the wheat from the chaff. This association should be able to do a separation, so that the thorns will not choke out the wheat.”
According to Adesina, online publishers need not to be adversaries of the government because publishing is not adversarial at all time. “You can be critical, no doubt since criticism is good for any government. But then, you don’t just have to set yourself as adversaries saying nothing good about the government.”
The presidency, he said was ready to support online publishers in the country to develop the society. He said the presidency has considered patronising the online media in a bid to encourage the medium in the Nigeria media terrain. According to Adesina, online journalists who work in government and with government can be sure of getting the cooperation of the presidency.
“The president is ready to throw his weight behind the course of online journalism is why I chose to attend the launch,” he said, adding that the President as well gave his consent for him to grace the occasion. “From our end, those who work managing the media of the president, we would love to work with this association. And it is going to be something that will be mutually beneficial. It is not that at all time we will just send our press release and stories to you and then nothing comes back to you in terms of patronage. As much as possible we will do that,” he said.
Supporting Adesina, Leo Stan Ekeh, chairman, Zinox Group and guest speaker at the event, called on online publishers in the country to be more thorough and professional in their news reportage because online publishing is viral. He said that God has giving online publishers the power to create wealth and survive but they must use it decently.
“I want to plead with you that this mega wealth must be harnessed with all sense of dignity and professionalism. The power to move this country forward rests with you. Let me tell you the truth, I see online journalism as the greatest employers of labour in the next 10 years in this country and I charged you to work on the quality and the content you deliver as it will help in driving traffic to your websites,” he said.
Earlier, Malachy Agbo, president, GOCOP, said one of the purposes of forming the association was to correct the negative perception the public have about online media. “Our immediate task is to continue to advocate adherence to the ethics of journalism by all players in the industry. The task may not be easy but we strongly believe that overtime people will always do the right thing.”
Other dignitaries at the event include Ajibola Ogunshola, former chairman, Punch Nigeria Limited, Abdulrazak Namdaz, deputy chairman, House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Media, who represented Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House, Abraham Nwakwo, director general, Debt Management Office, media professionals, among others.