From maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
For several years, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has not held a national conference. But in Kano, on Wednesday, the President of NUJ, Abdulwaheed Odusunle, along¬side the Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Liman in a communiqué, at the end of a two-day national conference, tagged: ‘’Kano 2018’’, with the theme: ‘’HATE SPEECH: HALTING THE TIDE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE’’, with the support of the Kano State Government, lamented the en¬croach of unprofessional media practice through the social media. Odunsele particularly called on the Federal Government to checkmate it, “before it gets out of hand.”
At that stakeholders meeting with the Nigerian media, Odunsele underscored that the removal of the unprofessional media must be backaed with a bill from the National and State legislatures to come up with a clear-cut legislation that will check the excesses and unprofessional operations of social media in the country.
From a communiqué, read by Odusunle and Us¬man at the end of a two-day National conference, tagged:’’ ‘’’Kano 2018’’, with the theme: ‘’HATE SPEECH: HALTING THE TIDE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE’’, with the support of the Kano State Government, it decried the un¬professional activities that have negated the promo¬tion of national cohesion.
However, the conference supports the Federal Government’s directive to the National Broadcast¬ing Commission (NBC) to sanction any radio or Television, which allows their station to promote hate speech and enjoined NBC to live up to its responsibilities of applying relevant sanctions of the law on err¬ing Broadcast stations.
Also, the communiqué stated that the mass media , notably, the Social me¬dia phenomenon are the main promoters of hate speech that in turn breeds socio-political anarchy, ethnoreligious conflicts and retards progress and prosperity.
Furthermore, it urged media practitioners to halt the tide of hate speech, through the promotion of national cohesion, love and unity, project the truth, teach ethical values, exhibit utmost respect for culture and tradition, as well as caution in report¬age, by adhering to the code of ethics of the Journalism profession. In addition, the communiqué bemoaned the current political pronouncements and news reportage, which are capable of causing so¬cial and political upheavals, which was against the objectives of politics and editorial contents of the media in the past.
Apart from that, the conference also supports the steps of the Federal Government, through the relevant agencies to strict¬ly enforce the cyber crime Act of 2015 that stipulates a punishment of five years imprisonment or a fine of N10 million on anyone convicted of an offence, threatening violence or insulting people, based on ethnic group, religion or race.
The conference also urged political, religious, traditional and other lead¬ers to lead by example, as well as control themselves, their aides and followers against Hate Speech.
‘’While self regulatory mechanism is another alternative means of enforcing professionalism, the Nigeria Union of Journalists , as the umbrella professional platform of media practice in the country should educate its members on the importance of self respect, discipline and to always stand by the truth and justice.”