BEVERLY HILLS, February 06, (THEWILL) – The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, Nigeria’s premier association of digital/new Media publishers and entrepreneurs, on Tuesday, held its maiden new media conference.
The conference tagged: “New Media as the future of the fourth estate”, which held at The Wheatbaker Hotel, Lagos, provided a blueprint on how to restore the eroding credibility and trust to the new media.
The highly interactive one-day conference featured new media practitioners, publishers, bloggers, PR consultants and social media influencers and politicians.
The event, in four panellists’ sessions, witnessed discussions with focus on exploring means through which practitioners can significantly boost quality of media contents in line with best practices in the industry globally.
The opening session featured a discussing on “Curbing Fake News In the Digital Media”with Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher, Premium Times; Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Veteran Journalist and Host, Seriously Speaking; Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress (APC); Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr Ishmael Ahmed, (Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments.
The Panelists agreed that truth and accuracy, setting guidelines, adopting fact-checking processes for news stories, proper verification, while validating OPAN as a body that can be reckoned with in the online media space.
It was also agreed that there should be more plans for retraining of online journalists, the utilization of the Freedom Of Information Bill and encouragement of citizen journalism.
The session, anchored by Sulaiman Aledeh, Former Channels TV Anchor and Founder Aledeh.com, also featured friendly banters between Abdullahi and Ologbondiyan.
The session was immediately followed by another with the theme “New Media as an Engine of Economic Growth,Tool for Driving Government Policies and Civic Engagement”.
Panelists on this session were Chude Jideonwo, Founder of Joy, Inc.; Richard Mofe-Damijo, aka RMD, Actor/former Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Delta State; Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, Speaker Emeritus, Delta State House of Assembly; and Mr Isichei Osamgbi, Head, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Shipping Authority, NIMASA.
The panelists explored the value creation model that can be derived from the New Media insisting that this value can drive the economy, government policies and civic engagement.
They also called for an increase in broadband penetration in the country to deepen the digital space, participation by the populace and an open space for engagement in the new media industry.
Giving his remarks at the event Mr Mustapha Chike-Obi an Economist and former MD, AMCON stressed the need for the Nigerian new media space, to reposition itself to positively impact the social, economic and political space.
Olabode Olatoye, Managing Partner, Business Development at WebCoupers; Hakeem Adeniji-Adele, Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft Nigeria; Charles Otudor, Founder, ADSTRAT and Jehu Omoruku, CEO, Gold Touch Technologies Ltd were panelists at the third session with the theme “The Future of the New Media/Online Media/Social Media”.
Practitioners were encouraged to build their brands and ignore the distrsctions and challenges in the new media space declaring that the future in the online media is bright.
The last session, “How to Monetize Your Platform and Earn Income”, featured Ono Bello, New Media Entrepreneur, Founder, OnoBello.com; Makinde Azeez, Founder, Naijaloaded.com; Sindy Foster, Internet, Brand Reputation Manager/ CEO Nylon Marketing and Bukky Karibe-Whyte, Founder, The Bobby Taylor Company.
The panelists gave real-life examples and shared experiences with participants on how to position their platforms in order to earn income.
In his closing remarks, the President of OPAN and Publisher of THEWILL, Mr Austyn Ogannah, stated that the forum was designed to provide a solution on how to restore the eroding credibility of the new media and also explore means through which OPAN can significantly boost quality of media contents in line with best practices in the industry globally.
He added that OPAN was at the forefront of giving clear guidelines, leadership, direction and curbing the debilitating effect of fake news in the country.
Words on marble:
We must validate information that we get. It’s the responsibility of the ‘policers’ to determine the guidelines – Adesuwa Onyenokwe.
Fake news is a fundamental crisis worldwide. We must build Trust and Ethics – Dapo Olorunyomi.
Fake news has become a weapon of war. Online journalists don’t have the luxury of making mistakes. One hashtag can destroy the country. The media must imbibe self-regulation, however, it must not be cowed. Use every available law in place to demand accountability from government – Bolaji Abdulahi.
Need for media practitioner literacy – Kola Olagbondiya.