The Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga, says the challenge of modern Nigerian journalism is the jealous enthronement of the regime of factual reporting while guarding the principles of verification against all forms of professional assault to the news process.
Mr Onanuga made these remarks at the opening event of the just-concluded fact-checking training of editors and correspondents of NAN in Abuja organised by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).
“I think fact checking is very fundamental for our practice. Journalism is anchored on facts and facts are sacred,” said Mr Onanuga who urged journalists to imbibe the culture of fact checking, especially in this digital age where information is easily accessible yet prone to excessive distortion.
Thanking the NAN management for the investment in staff training and particularly in the practice of fact checking, Dapo Olorunyomi, the Chief Executive Officer of the PTCIJ stated that trainings of this type helps media houses deepen their credibility while strengthening the integrity of their reporting process.
“NAN’s extensive reporting footprints in the country make it the pre-eminent institution to provide leadership in the renewal of journalism that privileges principles of accountability and democratic norms,” he said, stressing the role of fact checking as a major factor in the definition of credible reporting and journalism.
Mr Olorunyomi welcomed the NAN-PTCIJ partnership and remarked that through such collaboration, “we can bring professional journalism to serve true public purpose like credible elections, community harmony, and respect for constitutionalism in our country.” No doubt, he said, the 2019 election, and the ongoing fratricidal carnage in parts of the country represent two events that can become feasting grounds for nefarious digital warriors to heighten the difficulties currently affecting the country.
He stated that media houses across the globe are settling to the fact that fact-checking is not only a mechanism to “mend the rough edges in newsrooms,” but now a necessity for any insightful news gathering process.
The Nigerian fact-checking platform, Dubawa.org, is evidence that a prudent institutional response to the movement against misinformation and fakery in the polity, according to Mr Olorunyomi, can amplify the credibility of the media and the democratic process.
The training which started on Monday, the 7th of May 2018 has successfully built the capacity of over 50 journalists in two newsrooms –Daily Trust and the News Agency of Nigeria.
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