House of Reps to partner Online Journalists to curb fake news …. as House Spokesperson hosts NASS Online Journalists

Nigerian House of Representatives has pledged to partner with Online Journalists (New Media) in the National Assembly to curb the menace of fake news and quackery.
The Chairman House Committee on Media and Public Affairs,Rep.Benjamin Kali gave this hint while playing host to the members of the National Assembly New Media forum led by its Chairman, Comrade Yemi Itodo on Tuesday evening in the National Assembly complex.
Rep.Benjamin Kalu said Nigeria as a country with biggest Parliament in World needed to embrace innovation and also explore the benefits of technology for its legislative activities.
The Federal House of Representatives spokeperson who acknowledged that New Media has democratized information dissemination and improved the participation of the public in issues of governance, not just only in Nigeria but the world over.
“If we are going to achieve, the kind of information management, public engagement that the Speaker of the House of Representatives in this 9th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila desires, if we are going to achieve the objectives of the legislative agenda of this 9th Assembly as it concerns public engagement, bringing the parliament closer to the people.
“As it involves using the media to educate the people, showcase transparency and accountability, in good governance, using the media to tell our story that will change the narratives that commercial journalism, commercial dissemination of information had before now bastardised the perception of the public of the image of the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly has a very fragile image and that has been fueled by wrong narratives pushed through mediums that ordinarily suppose to be telling the stories the way they are.
“Technology makes the job easy. Technology makes access to information better, and faster. Tech makes you feel the piece of information as if you were there.While I do not condemn the conventional media operations, statistics have shown that the online media is quicker in pushing out information on any event.
“But the fear has been that the traditional media over the years have passed through a lot of experiences, it has built a block of knowledge that has helped sustain the principles of good journalism.
Rep.Kalu also said ” while the New Media is the new child in the block that came with innovation, but appears to be a risky platform for information managers who are still scared that this platforms are not dependable platforms.
“It is left for you to prove the authenticity of what you push to the public. The fear is that the source and credibility of the information that you push out are not strong and reliable.
“You have a lot of job to do.
Work on yourselves. If you want to write in any language, you must be proficient in the language So that the speakers of that language will understand you when you communicate. That you are online does not restrict you to only English language. You could be online in Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Urhobo, Ijaw, Ibibio or any of our indigenous languages.
“In fact, we are looking for how to engage the public in their own language or pidgin English. But anyone you want to use, it must be the one you are proficient in for better communication.
The National Assembly is a big institution, to report about it requires that you must be very good in what you do.
“The idea is very good, the innovation of the New Media is very welcome, but the packaging, the delivery what we are worried about.
Rep Kalu however said the House of Representatives was willing to partner with the online media, especially under his watch as the spokesman of the House of Representatives.
“Good enough, the Speaker is very interested in working with you. If the Speaker did not show interest in working with you I will not be here.
“The Speaker has shown interest that we need to do a diversification of media platform so that we can achieve our aim of dissolving the opaque view of the National Assembly, this cloud, the veil that have enveloped the activity of the National Assembly.
“The more we crack it, unveil it the more transparent we become before the people we are representing, and the more they understand through platforms of transparency, the more they understand what we do, the more we are accountable to them, the more the credibility of this institution will rise. And the more the credibility of this institution, the more the confidence of the citizens in this institution. The more confident the citizens are in this institution which remains the fulcrum of democracy, the more they believe in the principles of the rule of democracy because this is the backbone of democracy.
“Why the public is attacking the National Assembly is because they don’t seem to understand what we are doing here.
And that is why the leadership of the House, we came out with the Green Chamber magazine which is out there educating the public on the activities of the House of Representatives from the horses’ mouth. The magazine is out there telling our stories, not for the purpose of self-praise, but to change the narratives with the truth and not commercialized facts, or views. And it is working, whether that is enough, the answer is no.
The Spokeperson futher seek strategic partnership with the online media,that according to him control the bulk of social media participants.
“I know most of you are social media influencers, so strategic partnership with you means that the stake that you are holding, the New Media industry automatically becomes our mouthpiece, so we can speak through you.
“And in this era of desire of echo-friendly environment because of climate change, we can see that the less newspapers we print, the more trees we have in our forests. We can see that the less newspapers we use, the more friendly our environment. So this is a critical action that the New Media is bringing to our environment.
“In the 9th House Legislative Agenda, we are encouraging “operation green,” we want to encourage eco-friendly environment. And to achieve that we have to begin to use less paper and more technology in the delivery of our information.” He added.
In his remarks, the Chairman, National Assembly New Media Forum, Comrade Yemi Itodo thenked the House Spokesperson for his personal support toward the exiting robust relationship between the House of Representatives and the forum.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the National Assembly New Media Forum, Comrade Yemi Itodo, thanked the Spokesman for his personal supports to the members of the forum.

The also commended spokesperson’s openness and professionalism in handling the media engagements of the House of Representatives.

He maintained that members of the forum are registered members of Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ)and were duly accredited by the National Assembly management,

Itodo noted that the leadership of the house was yet to give online media its due recognition which has been hindering smooth coverage of activities of the Green Chamber in the National Assembly

“New Media remains the way to go in journalism and media practice. ”He said added.

He therefore called on the leadership of the House of Representatives to support online journalists through various capacity building opportunities for better output.

Itodo then assured the Spokesman and the leadership of the House of Representatives of the readiness of online journalists to partner with them and indeed the National Assembly in reaching out to the Nigerian public for a better understating and appreciation of the tedious and patriotic roles the parliament is playing to stabilize democracy in Nigeria.

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