Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has charged media organisations to tackle the menace of fake news capable of destabilising the country.
Bello made the call at the 29th edition of the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA) night in Lokoja on Sunday.
According to the Governor, the government could not help in order to avoid being caught in the web of censorship.
As a result, sanitising the media industry and keeping it professional was a job the media practitioners must do for themselves, Bello stated.
He also stressed that every attempt to regulate fake news or hate speech by the government had always been misinterpreted among media organisations with accusations of gagging free speech.
“The bravest and most professional individuals among you need to set examples in standing up to these giant forces for the more timid ones.
“They can do that by remaining resolutely true to what is ethical, actual or factual, no matter whose ox is gored.
”The profession needs to institutionalise reward and punishment systems for professional misconduct in the line of duty,” Bello said.
He urged media organisations to go the extra mile and come up with innovative methods to help stem the tide of unprofessional behaviour in the media industry.
He added: “I would suggest that you become creative in naming and shaming those who deal in inaccurate reportage.
”For instance, you could institute another set of awards like they have in some countries like the USA to name and shame individuals and media houses who carry the most egregious fake news or hate every year.”
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