Fake news: NUJ, Calabar monarch mull workshop for journalists

With viral report in the media last week that the stool of the Obong of Calabar was vacant, the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Cross River state and the palace of the Obong of Calabar are seeking a partnership for annual training and re-training workshops to enhance professionalism in journalism practice.

The partnership, which was mulled in Calabar during a courtesy visit of the State Working Committee of the NUJ to the palace of the Obong of Calabar, indicated that the said training workshop would be held during World Press Freedom Day annually.

Describing the partnership as “a welcome development,” the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, said, “This throne has been there for so many centuries and it is not something to toy with but it beats my imagination that people would just wake up and say the seat is vacant, how?

“What we have seen is a disheartening situation, but notwithstanding, you know as human beings, we expect all these things to happen.”

The monarch decried situations where some media practitioners would, according to him, “stoop low to do the biddings of mischief makers against their statutory and invaluable role as purveyors of information for societal good.”

While charging the NUJ to ensure that the public was not misled with information, the Obong said, “You are the power house in information management. People look up to you for news but not fake news which has the capacity to destroy society and cause war.

“Today, there is more fake news than factual information in this country. Some reporters look at what they could make from it.

“Our doors are open, and as you have suggested, we welcome the partnership. Let Journalists be part of the Palace; let us work together so that truth and factual information on the Palace of the Obong of Calabar can be disseminated to the people.”

Speaking earlier, the chairman of the NUJ in Cross River state, Comrade Nsa Gill, decried the level of fake news and misinformation “peddled by many untrained media men, particularly with the help of unregulated social media platforms.”

He said, “This untoward development calls for partnership between our Union and the palace to help us train and retrain some of our colleagues. This can be done every Press Freedom Day.

“I can authoritatively say that with what we have all seen today here in the palace, the seat of the Obong of Calabar is not vacant. Every rumour and fake news stand was dispelled. The fact is that Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V has been re-selected and is sitting on the throne of the Efik Kingdom.

“I see that report as a failed attempt by a small group to cause undue unrest in the Efik Kingdom.This should not continue.”