Journalists blame erosion of journalism ethics on advent of social media

By Seun Johnson
The advent of social media has been identified as one of the prominent reasons journalism is fast losing its pride of place in the comity of other professions.
This was clearly stated by a league of veteran journalists who converged at the Milestone Recognition of Media Icons in Nigeria, which was held recently in Lagos.
The annual event, which was organized by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, is primarily designed to honour and recognize seasoned and accomplished journalists who have contributed to the growth of the profession and  development of the nation.
Speaking to MARKETING EDGE on the sideline of the occasion, some notable and respected personalities, who are believed to have paid their dues in the industry, lamented the erosion of integrity, moral and etiquette of the profession orchestrated by the advent of social media.
According to them, most of the people who claimed to be practicing journalism today are mere citizen journalists who did not understand the rudiment of the job or go through journalism school.
Sharing his views on the subject, an erudite professor of Mass Communication and former HOD Masscom Department in Unilag, Ralph Akinfeleye argued that social media should rather be seen as social platforms, citing the difference between platforms and media.
“I will not say they are Social media but rather call them social platforms. When you say social media, you are confusing issues and there will be continuous agitation whether they are practicing journalism or not.
“The owner of Facebook came to this country some years ago. In that hall, we asked him if he was practicing journalism and he said no, he is not practicing journalism. He said he was providing the platform to disseminate information as fast as possible and at no cost.
“So we cannot be calling them social media. They are social platforms. And the so called citizen journalists are not journalists. They have not gone to journalism school. They don’t practice journalism and I call them information traffickers.” Akefeleye said.
Similarly, a renowned media scholar and former Editor of the Nigerian Tribune, Sir Folu Olamiti positioned that the advent of social media has polluted journalism.
Olamiti who was a media consultant to the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission claimed that many people now come to the profession as bloggers and claim to be journalists.
He said, “honestly, the advent of social media has polluted journalism. You don’t have journalism as before. We now have charlatans coming into the profession without anybody trying to checkmate them.
“Anybody can now rise to become a journalist be it a furniture maker, fashion designer or what have you. You can come into the profession as a blogger and call yourself a journalist. So it has thrown the ethics of the profession into the hands of charlatans and those who cannot keep the integrity of the profession.”
On his part, former DG, National Broadcasting Commission, Danladi Bako believes that social media has its positives and negatives sides, advising journalists to use the social platforms for the progression and benefit of the profession. He also tasked the bloggers who have no journalism experience to endeavor to study the course so they can be more professional.
For Governor Bala Mohammed, Governor of Bauchi State who was represented by his SSG, Barrister Mohammed Ibrahim Kashim, the professional body must rise up to the occasion and correct the rots in the profession in order to build a lasting legacy for younger generation.
The veteran journalist noted that there is no any profession that is totally free from pollution but the executive body has the responsibility of conducting a proper sanitation so as to put things in proper perspective.


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