Osun Online Journalism workshop: How Mobile telephony helped in propagating digital applications - Experts

By Tunde Olorungbotemi

Osun state: Online Media Practitioners have been urged to concentrate on unending opportunities in the digital space and to join the battle against the menace of fake news.

The advice was given at the opening day of the 2-day workshop organized by the Osun Online Media Practitioners Association for bloggers and online publishers in the state.

The event, which was held at the BenBer Foundation Hall, Ring road, Osogbo, had in attendance media experts and professionals drawn from different background as trainers and speakers.

In his keynote address, the Chief Press Secretary to Osun state Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, Mr Ismail Omipidan, stated that the digital media space in the country is very wide and hence, fake news or deliberate blackmail should never be opportunities for economic sustainability of online publishers.

Ismail Omipidan

He said, "mobile telephony has proved a huge plus in propagating digital applications not just in the urban areas but also in rural areas. In Nigeria, despite the power and infrastructure challenges, there has been a phenomenal growth of digital media usage.

In 2019, Nigeria’s evolving internet market hit another milestone. Statistics released by the Internet World Stats revealed that the country now ranks 7th in terms of countries with the highest number of internet users in the world.

According to the report, Nigeria’s total internet users stood at 111.6 million as at the end of March 2019.

"This therefore presents a huge opportunity for online media practitioners, as digital media with products like websites, blogs, social media networks and streaming services is the buzzword. Without mincing words, the Social Media has revolutionised the world and how we communicate in it. It is the 21st Century Source of News.

"Specifically, Twitter, Facebook and in recent time, WhatsApp  – are slowly taking over as the go-to-sources of news and information. That's is why after posting of content on websites and blogs, it is expedient to optimize them on your social media accounts which will in turn drive traffic to the sites.

However, a major challenge facing the digital media is the proliferation of disinformation and hoaxes that are popularly referred to as “fake news” driven by foreign actors and citizen journalism. This fake news are accelerating and affecting the way individuals interpret daily developments.

He urged the Practitioners to continue to provide high-quality journalism "in order to build public trust and correct fake news and disinformation without legitimizing them."

Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the Association, Jare Ismahil Tiamiyu said the training is important for the development of all online publishers.

Left: Jare Ismahil Tiamiyu, middle:  Ismail Ompidan and Rasheed Adebiyi

He said the association led by himself will continue to ensure that capacity building of members of the association takes centre stage and fake news become a thing of past.

"As professionals, training and workshops like this are so important to the development of individuals and to instil sanity into the media space. The association under my leadership will continue to prioritize capacity building for members in a bid to instill sanity into the media space."

In their separate sessions, two of the trainers, Rasheed Adebiyi of the department of Mass Communication, Fountain University, Osogbo and Kehinde Ayantunji, the immediate past chairman of Osun State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists took time to speak on the "New Normal" in Journalism and Writing of Investigative Report respectively.

Rasheed Adebiyi

Also speaking at the workshop was the Executive Director, International Media Training Center, Mr Jolaoluwa Afolabi who tasked media practitioners on hardworking and diligence.

He said the media industry is so competitive that only a hardworking and diligent Journalist can make headway.

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