In the just concluded Delta Online Publishers Forum, DOPF, 2018 Convention, the issue of the 2019 general election was brought to the fore with the reference to how to manage the daunting problem of fake news as it may affect the outcome of the election.
While, the gathering which was made of academias, jurists, media executives, and the civil society organisations see the issue of fake news as a major issue that needs a legal mechanism to curb the growing menace especially in the cyberspace, it was also agreed that the media need to do something about it, and a call was made that the offending root, the social media have to be brought closer, and the operators given some recognition and tutorial to under the legal framework of the media environment.
In the light of the above, it will be better to point out at this stage, that the issue of fake news is not akin to the cyberspace, but even to the main media, just that the spread is faster in the former.
Talking of the 2019 national election, and the media, fake news is not, and may not be the major problem that will likely confront the coming election, but many other related issues, like free access to all parties involved, and the credibility of the media organisation.
It’s a well known fact that media access, involves finance, and because of lack of finance, many who are involved in election matter had resulted to the use of most times, crude means of passing their campaign messages, especially through third party channels, or got themselves involved with some online organisations to pass their messages to the electorate.
In the process, the message is lost, and at the end of it all the people will not get the required information from those involved in the process of the election.
Apart from the free access to the media, though expensive, voters’ education will go a long way to shape the 2019 election. This voters election as known is not just the duty of the electoral umpire, but those who have access to disseminate the needed information to the public, especially to the electorates.
The media, though is financially driving, must see her duty as the purveyor of all development information, to a successive electoral process. Workshops, symposiums, seminars must be carried out by the different media organisations, either individually, or as a body, like the 2018 convention of the Delta Online Publishers Forum, DOPF, which was used to x-ray the place of the fake news industry in the 2019 election.
We must not lose focus, as the outcome of the election will determine a lot of things at the end when the votes had been counted, and results released.
Our reportage of all activities before, during and immediately after the election matters.