The Executive Director, Institute of Communication and Corporate Studies, Austin Tam-George, on Friday called for a greater sense of responsibility on the part of social media users as the medium is filled with content which lacks depth of insight.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, Mr Tam-George, who expressed his agreement in the argument that media performed below expectation in reporting issues in the country in 2013, said that the media hasn’t done enough at the grass root level.
The new media has opened the space for self-expression. A lot of people are getting more expressive as the new media grants users “a certain kind of anonymity.” Which allows them express themselves “without facing the dangers of persecution.”
He however warned that “having the opportunity to express yourself is not the same as having something serious to say.
“What you find in the social media landscape in Nigeria is that you still don’t find that depth of insight. You still find a lot of tendency towards sensationalism. The content is sensational. The style is gossipy and because the quality of education in this country has fallen drastically, even the quality of expression is not very good.”
“What I think we need to do is to recognise that we need to have proper information, proper sense of professional practice. The new media has opened up the space in such a way that everybody can (basically) function as a reporter or correspondent but that’s not enough. We still need to have oversight responsibilities.”
He accused social media content producers of aiming for viral posts “rather than making content to achieve educational purpose.”
Following the scandals and controversies which have heated up the polity in recent times, Tam-George said people should be more concerned about issues in the media.
“We lament a lot about the polity or political leadership in this country and I think we should worry more about the media landscape because the distance between the political class and the media elite is becoming narrower.” as “more of the people who are politicians are becoming media proprietors,” he said.
If you talk about the constitutional conference, the media has the responsibility to inform and educate
“Politicians recognize the media has a very important role to play in advancing their interests so they become investors, proprietors in the media.”
“There’s a tendency for those who were politicians or are active in politics to create the kind of media that they want in their own image.” Therefore, more and more media practitioners are choosing according to the political leanings of their proprietors which is why features such as subjectivity, independence of thought, investigative journalism are missing.
He however cautioned practitioners of both traditional and new media “to exercise responsibility in the way (those) platforms are used.”