Written By Dedeigbo Ayodeji, and Onwuemene Judith
Online Publishers and reporters were on Friday treated to fascinating capacity building sessions by respected industry resource persons at a media training workshop organised and sponsored by Polaris Bank Limited.
The well-attended virtual workshop which held last Friday had renowned online Publishers, among others as participants.
Declaring the workshop open, Head, Corporate Communication and Group Head, Strategic Brand Management of Polaris Bank, Rasheed Bolarinwa and Nduneche Ezurike said the Bank is driven by a strong motivation to ensure a healthy media space in the country hence its decision to sponsor on a yearly basis, special training sessions to build and deepen capacity for media practitioners across the Online, Print and Broadcast spectrum. The duo disclosed that feedbacks from previous editions which held physically in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja were encouraging enough for the Bank to maintain the status quo despite the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They assured Journalists that the media capacity workshop which runs in batches, will be maintained to reach greater number of media practitioners across the country.
The two-session webinar focused on sensitive media issues such as; ‘ *The Cyber Crime Law and You’* anchored by Barrister Eric Ojih and ‘ *Media Ethics In The Age of Online Journalism’* anchored by popular Journalist and social commentator, Ayo Aluko-Olokun.
The facilitators in their highly rich presentations took turns to educate participants on the need to be cautious while discharging their media roles.
According to them, the media is a powerful tool that can be used to either make or mar a nation depending on how it is deployed.
‘The core journalists must differentiate themselves from the phone and data people who just pick, share or publish information without any journalistic vetting, gatekeeping or verification.
The world is so fragile that any one sharing unverified and inciting information can set it on fire in minutes.
If you are not sure of the source or authenticity of any information, the best thing is to leave out to avoid causing chaos and avoidable panic in your immediate and larger environment’, Aluko-Olokun told participants.
“Be guided by the Social Responsibility theory of of the media where he admonished journalist to practice responsibly.
It is an obligation of a journalist to commit to upholding professional standard by being truthful, accurate and balance in his/her reporting, and conscious of the environment within which it operates especially in a multicultural society like ours.
That way, we would be promoting peace rather than chaos I’m Nigeria. Aluko-Olokun admonished.
On his part, Barrister Ojih said online journalists could shoot themselves on the leg if they do not take time to familiarise themselves with the dictates of the Cyber Crime Law in Nigeria, even he quoted copiously relevant sections with ample case studies.
‘The court may compel publishers, reporters and their medium to pay as much as N7m fine or serve up to seven-year jail term or do both if found guilty of a Cyber Offence from Cyber Stalking to Cyber Squatting or Xenophobic contents. And ignorance as we all know is not an excuse before the law. It is therefore imperative that journalists in general take precautionary measures while trying to serve the public so as not to be condemned by the very people they so wish to serve,’ Ojah explained.
“As a Journalist you must be abreast of all the sections of the Cyber Crine Act & Law of 2010 as it is applicable to journalism practice, especially those of you who have chosen yo ply your trade in the digital space,” the Media Law Experts explained.
Participants took turns to appreciate Polaris Bank and the two anchors after the end of the sessions. They implored the Bank to maintain the lead as it had done in the past while hoping that the world would soon be certified free of the COVID-19 pandemic so the physical editions could resume.