Speaking at the tenth Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series held in Lagos on Friday 13 July, in commemoration of the 84th birthday of Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, Umaru Pate, Pioneer Dean, Faculty of Communication, Bayero University, Kano, has told journalists to be wary of preparing the country for war through fake news.
According to Pate, wrong profiling of certain ethnic groups without giving them commensurate space to also express themselves can lead to more violence. “War is not something that a country may necessarily come out to say we are preparing for, but with fake news, with distribution of hatred and then the preparation of people’s minds to oppose other people that are not within their own groups, we are preparing for war”, he said.
Decrying the collapse of ethics in the media industry and the distribution of hatred as news, the professor of Media and Society called on the media to practise true journalism defined by adherence to ethics.
In his words: “Let me ask a very simple question, since the beginning of these crises, did you see one serious documentary by any television station in this country, balancing or showing the two sides? Have you read any seriously researched article by any journalist reflecting all sides of the crises?”