Image Merchants Promotion Limited (IMP) publishers of PRNigeria and Penlight Center for Investigative Journalism with the support of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has in a 3-day workshop trained selected journalists in Kano and its environ on the use of appropriate digital tools to promote professional standards.
The workshop with the theme ‘Digital Journalism, Media Ethics and Responsive Reporting’ was held at the conference hall of PRNigeria Center, Kano.
Declaring the workshop opened on Wednesday, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa who was represented by Abdulquadir Abiola Apaokagi, said the workshop was aimed at training and equipping journalists with required digital skills that can be used to fact-check any information online for media use.
He said: “there’s no doubting the fact that we are in the digital age where everything is now based on computers and the internet. It is of interest to us therefore that our journalists take advantage of the available digital tools to do their jobs better and serve the country better.
“The digital era has however also come with its challenges, one of which is the overbearing presence of the social media. Of course, unregulated social media is a free marketplace where anything and everything goes.
“Fake news, toxic content, hateful stuff, divisive and inciting narratives are prevalent in there because there are no gatekeepers or regulators to direct traffic.
“The theme of this workshop is therefore very apt and timely,” he said.
The DG added that learning how to do fact-checks will help media professionals to be able to do due diligence on any information that comes to them; it will help stem the tide of fake news.
The Chief Executive Officer, IMP, Yushau Shuaib in his presentations on media management, social media, and tracking fake news called on journalists to broaden their horizons and adopt new ways of doing things by using technology in gathering, reporting, publication, and distribution of media content.
He also emphasized the need for journalists to be well-skilled digitally and use social media platforms intelligently to avoid sharing fake stories and promoting hate speech.
The Project Manager, Penlight Center for Investigative Journalism, and staff writer with PRNigeria, Mohammad Dahiru Lawal took participants through fact-checking, media monitoring, and Search Engine Optimization.
Some of the digital tools he exposed participants to included but were not limited to crowd tangle, civic signal, and google earth.
On his part, the Head of Information and Media Studies Department, Bayero University Kano, Dr. Nura Ibrahim handled Ethical Issues in Media Reporting.
He explained why journalists need to be ethical in their reportage and the implications of being unethical as well as ethical challenges and ways forward.
Some of the glaring recommendations from the communique issued at the workshop include a call for sustained and regular intensive training programs to curb the abuse of social media and promote ethical standards and global best practices.
Participants also recommended that Journalists should be patriotic, responsible, and ethical in setting agenda for driving national cohesion and stability by using digital tools, social media, and other internet platforms to counter the menace of fake news, hate speech among other vices on the blogosphere.
The communique was presented to the DG, NITDA Kashifu Inuwa who was present on the last day of the training by the Chairman of the drafting committee, Isiyaku Ahmed, the publisher of Stallion Times.
And, the Network of Advocates for Digital Reporting (NADIR) presented the DG with the award of Personality of the year, 2021.
In their determination to ensure the practice of digitally driven, ethically responsible, and development conscious online journalism, the participants pledge to ensure 20 percent of their reportage will focus on creating awareness on digital literacy and inclusion.
A participant, Olufunmi Bosade Alemeru from the News Agency of Nigeria said the training was of advantage to her in terms of fact-checking any information before disseminating it to the public. She thanked PRNigeria for a job well done.
Another participant, Muhammad Kabir of New Telegraph said his take-home is the knowledge of global best practices in journalism.
At the end of the workshop, the DG presented certificates of participation to the trained journalists.