2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
Enugu State Government and the Peddlers of Fake News
By Prince Ejeh Josh
In a world distorted by false and misleading information occasioned by technological innovation and breakthrough in cybernetics such that every person is afforded the opportunity to own a smart phone, purchase data, and express their opinions on issues; standing out as an individual or as a corporate body in the media space is one goal that everyone should crave for. Integrity. Responsibility. Proactiveness. Facts. Truth. All these should define our world of writing.
Everyone can write but not everyone is a writer. Writing is a skill learnt. It has its rules and pitfalls. A better writer is one who maintains and continues to strive to maintain integrity and objectivity. Reporting must be balance in all ramifications. To keep a good name, aspiring writers must also keep their works perfect or near perfection.
For those into journalism, or perhaps, those self-imposed journalists or bloggers, they hold the society a duty. A duty to report, timeously, events or happenings within their environment and beyond in a way as to educate the public or clarify issues that appear blur to the people.
Journalism is not just about news; it entails accurate news. It calls for a balanced, fair and honest reportage. Yes, news has been defined as a history written in a hurry. The hurriedness does not remove the duty to investigate and feed members of the public with fact and accurate information. In fact, investigative journalism rather than the awful and lazy attitude of “copy and paste” that has defined the social media space should be the guide.
Our social media space is already filled with junks from those J P Clark, a renowned poet and playwright, referred to as “Cockroach writers”, or scribblers. Being a good reporter demands the reporter to exhaust all available opportunity to ascertain the exactitude of the happenings. A visit to the scene; an interview with eye-witnesses; a call to all the parties involved, etc, will enable a good and factual report. In journalism, the golden watchword is: Facts are sacred!
However, in recent times, self-acclaimed “e-mice”, social media tigers, sponsored media gangsters or whatever nomenclature they prefer to brandish, have resorted to their copy and paste attitude in their desperate attempts to massage their paid masters’ ego, or to justify why they are being paid for data. In some cases, one finds it difficult to make meaning out of their numbing scribbles. But they are quick to litter the space with misinformation since they are uninformed. Their brand is known. The signs are always clear. Educated illiteracy!
As a writer striving for integrity, there’s this audacity to stand alone against all odds. You’ll be bashed. You’ll be called names. Tantrums will be hurled at you for not following the generally held but misleading view. I’ve come under constant attacks when I had to go a little further to investigate some state of affairs and discovered they were lies, and mere propaganda. Sure, making a different report means drawing the ire of some fantastic fanatics. However, the truth will always prevail.
As usual of these sponsored media goons, they recently pounced on the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State. Whatever the Governor does is a sin to them. They celebrate people’s misfortune and hail any attack on the state. Sadly and pathetically, these are youths ready to take over leadership. Constructive criticism, to me, isn’t a crime. Resorting to social media terrorism, to peddle false and malicious information against a peace-loving administration is the joy of these youths and their co-travellers.
Just few days ago, a friend called me from Abuja and referred me to a certain news making the round in the media. It was a bus shelter called “bus stop” which was pulled down for safety purpose after a car had terribly rammed into it. The only option left was to pull down the entire structure. The Government of Enugu State believes it has a duty to prioritize lives. Rather than amending the bus shelter, it saw wisdom in raising a new one. That’s what good governance is all about.
On seeing this, these social media cockroaches took to the media to celebrate what they tagged “government downfall”. A government that has given them everything, and created an enabling environment for them to realise their business potential. In their desperation, they called out the state government and accused the management of constructing inferior bus shelter. When I saw the false information, I smiled and told my friend to ignore the dirty job as coming from uninformed e-mice being sponsored by some faceless and fast relevant-waning politicians. They had succeeded in exposing their ignorance and level of literacy. It was not only shameful but embarrassingly acute. Yet they want to be handed over with leadership mantle. They are also hungry for appointments where they’d end up becoming a burden and liability to the state.
To set the record straight, some videos were released by Louis Amoke, a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, showing where the structure was being pulled down by site engineers. It took the engineers time to demolish the solid structure going by the content of the videos. The response was impressive and timely. It painted a vivid picture of the supposed mysteries beclouding the misinformation. It also reassured the good people of Enugu state about the government’s commitment to consolidate on its myriad of achievements. Of course, the clarification, which the social media cockroaches never bothered to inquire, was a big blow to the e-media gangsters. It was like a sledgehammer falling on the tiniest ant.
After the release of the videos, it was my expectation that these social media gangsters on rampage would tender unreserved apologies and remorsefully pulled down their fake and malicious news and hate speech against the government and the good people of Enugu state. However, they are yet to do that. All thanks to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who has continued to accommodate opposition voices; both reasonable and maliciously induced, and has, in his peaceful posture, refused to raise an eyebrow against the state’s detractors.
Should these unreasonable and ill-motivated attacks on the administration have occurred in other states, these purveyors and sponsored peddlers of fake news and criminal defamation would by now, be cooling their heels somewhere within the confine of the law. The Governor has shown magnanimity in victory and his name will continue to resonate within the global cycle of those with the philosophy of peace. Thanks to the Governor for allowing the sane and insane to express themselves. The Governor has shown that his large heart in the face of provocation and this is why many have been routing for someone like him to be considered for Nigeria President in 2023. Next time these “copy and paste” e-mice are pasting, a little investigation and inquiry will save them from embarrassment, and save them from trouble.
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