By Seyifunmi Odunuga
IBADAN – The Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Adeolu Akande, has said only good governance will silence social media from its criticism of government.
Adeolu Akande, the NCC boss who delivered speech as Guest Speaker at the Annual Lecture of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State chapter in Ibadan, on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 also noted that the agitation against the social media because of criticism of government through the medium will not stop such criticism, saying when government performs well, the social media is bound to respond positively.
In his words, “When government performs well,the social media is abuzz with praises for the government. When government fails,the social media is abuzz with condemnation. The best way to silence the social media is to strive and do well”.
Speaking on the topic, ”Revisiting the Role of Journalism in Good Governance in Nigeria”, The NCC boss averred that the media promotes good governance by playing the role of watchdog, civic forum and agenda setting for government.
He said the media is important in the quest for good governance because many elements of good governance like transparency, accountability, greater participation in government, access to information, rule of law and human rights, cannot be achieved without the media.
The professor of Political Science identified Paid News Journalism and Social Media as two new developments with great impact on the role of journalism in promoting good governance.
On Paid News which he said is the institutionalised commercialisation of news, Akande said it undermines the credibility of the media before the public because news is supposed to be well researched and objective.
“The public takes whatever news that come from the media as gospel truth. When it turns out that such news are not true or not objective and altruistically produced, this erodes the confidence of the public in the media and weakens its capacity to promote good governance,” he noted.
He also emphasized that the advent of the social media has changed the fortune of journalism in Nigeria and worldwide. He said the social media produces news real time and offer other services the media offers in a way that challenges the continued existence of the mainstream media even while its excessess has raised concerns in many quarters.
Prof. Akande called on the federal government to intensify its financial interventions in the media industry because the sector is going through trying period and should not be allowed to go into paralysis because of its critical role in promoting good governance and national development.
The NCC boss, further argued that just like the collapse of banking and aviation sectors would affect the econony adversely, the collapse of the media industry will equally have devastating effect on the society.
“The effect of the parlous economy may not manifest quickly in the media sector as it does in banking and aviation, but the truth is that the effect would be devastating on the society,” he posited.
Prof. Akande lauded the federal government for the initiative to support the media industry with access to single digit loan to survive the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic.