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Tuesday 28 July 2020


Part 1


Journalistic objectivity requires that a journalist not be on either side of an argument. The journalist must report only the facts and not a personal attitude toward the facts. Essentially, reporters should not only approach issues in an unbiased manner but also with a dispassionate and emotionless attitude.

However, the fast rising online media in Kwara has been recruiting every Tom, Dick and Harry into the industry and as such there has been threat to the liberty given to us in terms of Freedom of Expression. To become a standout journalist, it is pertinent to remain neutral on controversial issues, giving equal time to each point of view. An unbiased author will try to fairly represent conflicting ideas, without trying to convince anyone that one is right. If its purpose is to teach or inform or disseminate research, it's likely relatively safe from bias.

It is saddening that we are having league of authors who are biased and not paying attention to all the facts or developing a logical argument to support their opinions. Bias is when a statement reflects a partiality, preference, or prejudice for or against a person, object, or idea.

Journalism has great impact on society, because journalism is the only weapon that can change the world completely. It can change the ideas of people, thinking patterns of people, living styles of people and inter alia.

While the most part of the world worries about the impact of fake news on elections and referendums in developed nations, emerging democracies are facing the same threat. We now live in a digital world, surrounded by a deluge of information. The internet has made us more connected than ever, thus a threat anywhere is a threat everywhere. The new information age has created a virtual surrounding with loads of information, a large part of which is reliable with the more significant chunk unverifiable.

Thus, discerning truth from hear-say has become an enormous task. Fake news has recently raised a lot of concerns because of its impact prevalent in contemporary democratic politics. Fake news spreads like wild-fire and difficult to contain or correct; more so its capacity to distort the eventual truth, makes it a threat in a democratic set-up.

Freedom of expression is an important human right in a democratic dispensation which is essential for society to be autonomous. It empowers the free exchange of ideas, opinions, information and also allows members of society to form their own opinion from happenings in public sphere. The common debate within and outside intellectual arenas have always been about its existence and the level at which citizens are allowed to exercise it in line with constitutional provision at hand. No doubt, the battle for freedom of expression has gained momentum in Nigeria and the world at large.

Kwara State has been defined by its harmonious coexistence of the citizens, and now seems to have reached an inclining fact. The growth of fake news is on the increase daily as sources and platforms keep emerging, many of course are created by politicians, ignorantly or deliberately by the media, interest groups which have fuelled hate speech, sentiments, distrust and the abuse of freedom of expression thus, threatening the unity of the state.

The state's composition and configuration is very unique which is characterized by varieties of customs and costumes, norms and values, trades and traditions. It is one of the systems that have saturated differences in opinions, sentiments and religion. Kwara's democracy had been less threatened by unscrupulous citizens, leaders, community crises, religious crises, bad governance, disunity terrorism and but most recently fake news.

The pluralistic nature of "the media" has further complicated the issue. There are so many sources with doubtful reliability, controversial issues, unfairly representation of conflicting ideas; people are retreating into social media where like-mindedness thrives. This has increased the demand for accountability and has made users prone the vulnerability and the danger of misinformation.

To be continued...

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