Northern based online publishers under aegis of Arewa Online Publishers Association (AOPA) said they have set agenda to combat fake news in the online media.
The members of the newly established association said to fight fake news , the professional journalists in Nigeria must dominate the online media.
According to a press release signed by the association’s Secretary, Comrade Balarabe Junaidu, AOPA stated; “With the avowed commitment to objectivity and incisiveness as our guiding principles, Arewa Online Publishers Association, AOPA frowned against fake news which is gaining traction on social media.
“Although, it is observed that some people, especially politicians, are using the term Fake News against the media to the great detriment of journalism, media firms in Nigeria should strive to maintain their value in news environment being remade by digital technology.
“Fabricated content, misleading headlines and false context for millions of Internet users, AOPA observes, is reaching epidemic proportion.
“To AOPA, some online misinformation have become a major threat to the society, because of the resultant political disorder, the undermining of truth, the hatred and rumour that can spread in conflict.”
Worried by this development, members of the AOPA, cutting across the 19 Northern States and Abuja, said they are out to build more thoughtful and balanced communities around their news.
“Nigerians should not be made to continue facing a mix of junk news, computational propaganda and information pollution.
“Rather, the universal standard of journalism to salvage the leaders to socio- economic needs of the citizens , shall remain members’ focus.
“The world today faces a collision between facts and alternative facts, therefore it behooves on online Publishers to get their news heard over the din of fake news emanating from quacks,” he added.
While acknowledging the campaign against fake news initiated last year by Nigeria’s Minister of Information , Lai Mohammed in reaction to misinformation and hate speech, AOPA said it would like to remind Nigerians that fake news is an information that can not be verified , without sources and possibly , untrue.
“Therefore the move by the Minister which seems to have short lived , should not only be embraced but seen as part of our collective desire to make Social media platform responsible,” it concluded.