DOUBLE EDGE: SEASONS of fake news without consequence By Adesoji OMOSEBI

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FAKE news as the name implies is a misleading information fabricated with the aim of damaging the reputation of an individual, persons, organization in order to achieve a purpose to satisfy ones evil mission.

It is an information without any verifiable facts created to deliberately deceive and misinform target readers on social media, radio listeners or Television viewers to influence views for political, social or personal motives.

Fake news can be in form of false damaging reports, misinformation in form of audio, video, articles, images fabricated in form of facts.

Fake news in Nigerian context has become a norm where some disgruntled elements are hired to fabricate, distort, misrepresent credible information in order to destroy defame an individual, organization or political opponents.

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Sources of fake news differs especially in the 21st Century in the advent of Social Media where everyone have access to publish, share information provided he or she has a phone and data for its usage.

In Nigeria, fake news, no matter how damaging, has become a competition among political gladiators to woo gullible Nigerians.

Media Practitioners have become confused to discern between what is fake and factual news.

This evil trend is so worrisome these days because it is almost impossible to know who writes what or authored any Press Release or Press Statements.
Recently, we have seen some near perfect Press Releases purportedly written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Peter Obi, Bola Tinubu and a host of others but later debunked as fake news. This is where media Practitioners are in dilemma.

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Many audios and videos are doctored by some of these “evil genius” to defame and blackmail many political leaders in order to cause chaos, disharmony and incite the people against one another and to turn the country upsidedown.

The greatest mistake some political analysts made is to narrow down fake news to Media Practitioners. Those whose intent is to cause confusion by spreading fake news would either be ‘overnight newsmen’ who created their website for the purpose of destroying others and later pull down their sites.

Some fake news are being concocted by non-media Practitioners who are out to blackmail some celebrities, individuals or political association out of envy or with the intent to pull such down.

As advised by veteran Journalists, Practitioners must crosscheck, confirm every news contents before reaching out to the public.

We just cannot continue this way hoping Nigeria will reach its goals in no distant future. Something drastic needs to be done, and urgently too, to contain these unchecked madness. Until when scapegoats are caught, arrested and made to face the full wrath of the law as a deterrent to others, it will continue unabated.

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The resultant implication of fake news could lead to avoidable confusion, anarchy or war if not quickly checked.

It is highly unfortunate that Nigerians believe more in fake news than when factual news is published.

On this note, I will specially apologize to our Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who first mooted the idea few years ago. My thoughts at the time was that Lai was trying to silence the media with such law, I now know better.

There must be consequence of action to anyone or group of persons behind fake news in Nigeria by setting up a Media Commission to checkmate fake news henceforth.

There must be a law to regulate and control social media activities in order to bring sanity to news gathering and publication.

If two or three offenders are arrested, tried and sentenced to jail, fake news will reduce drastically.

Adesoji OMOSEBI is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of SOJ WORLDWIDE ONLINE NEWS.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for your thorough and thoughtful presentation on the topic. However, apologizing the progenitor of lies and fake news tends to sour the efficacy of this presentation.

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