The President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Femi Adesina, has challenged online publishers in the country to bring professionalism to bear on their jobs.
Adesina, who addressed the publishers, under the aegis of the Nigerian Online Publishers Association, said the time has come to make online publishing credible in order to ensure that the business aspect thrives.
The NGE president, who addressed the online publishers at their meeting in Lagos on Friday, said that the infiltration of the online publishing business by all comers demands that standards must be set by those who are professionals into it.
A statement on Monday by the General Secretary of NOPA, Dotun Oladipo, quoted Adesina as advocating a self-regulating regime among online publishers.
Adesina said that the era of rushing to publish with half-facts should be over by now for online publishing to get the attention it deserves.
He praised the members of NOPA, whom he said have paid their dues in journalism, for deeming it fit to come together to set standards for online journalism.
“The association has a heavy duty on its hands. You can make a difference through the association. Most of the things posted online now can’t be trusted because of the activities of some people who are not professionals,” Adesina said.
The NGE president cited the examples of the crash of the Associated Airlines and the purported kidnap of the wife of the late Chief of General State, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, stating that while some of the names bandied as having died on the ill-fated Associated Airlines crash were never on board, Aikhomu’s wife was also not kidnapped.
“Yet, the online is very critical now to journalism. There are certain stories that would not have seen the light of the day but for the online. The Oduahgate is one of them. Online will go a long way to guarantee freedom of expression.
“The Arab Spring would not have succeeded but for online. Yet, every good thing is to be considered with the evil embedded in it. You as an association must check the evil in it.
“Anybody who is going to be a member of the association must have a pedigree. Such a person must have evidence of training, professionalism, track record.
“When such a person wants to join the NGE, we must be able to rely on NOPA for recognition….
“Standards must be maintained for the consuming public to trust it. Then the business will thrive.
“It is very important that we up the game so that the trust element will prop up. It will do a lot of good to our profession,” he said.
Adesina also challenged the online publishers to improve the quality of editing of their stories, stressing that some sites parade poorly edited stories.
The President of NOPA, Malachy Agbo, thanked Adesina for making time out of his tight schedule to address the publishers, stressing that the association was formed to set standards for online publishing.
He said while it is true that no one can and will be sanctioned, the members of the association can act as models through their news sites for others to emulate.