Facebook verifies PREMIUM TIMES

“This is a welcome statement of identity, affirming again, the true worth of the PREMIUM TIMES brand”.

Popular social media platform, Facebook, on Wednesday verified PREMIUM TIMES, making the investigative paper one of the first Nigerian media establishments to get such an important stamp of approval.

“We are really excited about this because as you know, PREMIUM TIMES is one of the youngest newspapers in Nigeria,” said Emmanuel Ogala, the paper’s Chief Digital Strategist. “We are less than three years old and there are several Nigerian media organisation who have been on Facebook several years before we came. It simply shows that our efforts at giving the best journalism to our country is not in vain.”

Facebook, as a matter of policy, only verifies well-known public figures and pages with huge followership and enduring history.

“We verify profiles or pages to help you be sure that they are who they claim to be,” Facebook says of its verification policy. “Keep in mind that not all authentic profiles and pages are verified and that you can’t request to have your profile or page verified.”

Verified pages include those of respected celebrities, journalists, government officials, popular brands and businesses.

A verification page is identified by a blue badge near its name.

Reacting to his paper’s verification, PREMIUM TIMES’ Editor-in-Chief, Dapo Olorunyomi, said it is great feat. He said it goes further to place some kind of authenticity on the brand.

“This is a welcome statement of identity, affirming again, the true worth of the PREMIUM TIMES brand,” Mr. Olorunyomi said. “We never take our readers for granted, and it comes refreshingly delightful that Facebook itself gives a nod to our sense of authenticity,” Mr. Olorunyomi said.

In October 2013, PREMIUM TIMES suffered a setback when its Facebook page was blocked by the social network. Various emails to different Facebook channels, and a letter to founder Mark Zuckerberg, from this newspaper’s lawyer, Jiti Ogunye, failed to compel the platform to lift the block.

The page remained blocked until February, 2014 when some international freedom of expression groups, activists, and rights organizations pressured Facebook to unblock the page since the company’s works were important in upholding good governance in the country. One notable voice in the mix was the Committee To Protect Journalists, CPJ, with its headquarters in New York.

PREMIUM TIMES is an independent Nigerian investigative newspaper reputed for exposing official corruption, human rights abuses and government inefficiency and the reign of impunity in the land.

The paper, which began publishing in late 2011, is known for offering the fastest breaking news and the deepest investigative reports about Nigeria.

PREMIUM TIMES has become the number one platform for investigative and multimedia journalism in Nigeria, reporting on issues routinely avoided by older media-particularly on corruption in high places.

It has broken some of the biggest anti-corruption stories in Nigeria in the past two years. Indeed, the paper is the only Nigerian medium (and only one of two from Africa-the other being Mail & Guardian of South Africa) invited by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to participate in the recent globally acclaimed groundbreaking investigation into tax haven.

On May 6, the London-based One World Media honoured the paper with a Special Award for its professionalism and exceptional work.

“This Nigerian investigative newspaper and website has, in the three years of its existence, established a fast-growing reputation for brave and courageous journalism with real impact,” said Phil Harding , a former Director of News and English Networks, BBC World Service, and vice chair of the One World Media’s Board of Trustees, at the award ceremony attended by key figures from the British media industry, education, government and development NGOs.

“With an impressive string of hard-hitting exposes, it has acted as a powerful reminder that, in a modern democracy, the media is crucial in holding those in power to account. PREMIUM TIMES shows that in the face of misrule and suppression, the media can act as a beacon for those who wish to create a better society.”

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