President of the Association of Online Media Practitioners of Nigeria (AMPON), Mogaji Wole Arisekola has warned publishers of fake news to desist saying they could face prosecution if they crossed the line.
Arisekola, publisher of Street Journal magazine, spoke with journalists on Friday in Lagos, the Nation reports on Saturday.
He said: “I have said it at different fora and I will continue to maintain that the fake news phenomenon is a serious scourge that must be fought headlong in Nigeria and stakeholders need to help in changing the narrative.
“More importantly, I equally urge the government through its law enforcement agencies to bring the purveyors of fake news to justice. The media space must be rid of irresponsible journalism and social media must also be sanitized to pave the way for decency and propriety.
“Gone are the days where someone will hide behind the computer or his or her smart phones and will be misleading the public with all manner of information that is not only untrue or fake but very damaging, repugnant or capable of causing unrest or setting the country on fire.
“There are technologies now that can track any purveyors of fake news wherever they are. People with negative energy aren’t fit to practice journalism. Journalists must be balanced in their reportage, they must be investigative, thorough, unbiased and must also be ambassadors of truth, which is very sacred.”
He also warned that “newsmakers should as well be guided that there is no law restricting security agents from prosecuting any individual who crossed the line, particularly those feeding the public with lies, deceptions and misinformation.
“Journalists should also stop acting as if they are still in the era of imperial colonialism or fighting the unpopular apartheid regime. They must be socially responsible while upholding the principles of ethical practice.
“This is what I always tell every social media influencer, content maker, news publisher and also members of AMPON who today by God’s grace I am their President, and I can say they are very disciplined and la