Fake news can be controlled not eliminated ― Prof Akinfeleye

An expert in Mass Communication, Professor Ralph Akinfeleye said that fake news which he said has been in existence for over 120 years can only be controlled, but not eliminated.

Professor Akinfeleye disclosed this in Abuja at the launch of a book written to honour his academic eminence.

Analyzing the book with the title, Journalism, Communication and Society, Professor Akinfeleye said the book carries the message of completeness.

“It talks about how journalism should be practised, it dealt with the areas of convergence, it dealt with the areas of journalism training, health communication and behavioural change communication as the title is journalism, communication and Society, those are the three major concepts of this book, one part is dealing with journalism other one is dealing with communication and another part is dealing with Society.

“So it’s a compendium of three in one and the authors have written excellently well to enlighten journalism practitioners and students about the need to know that information is the power to national development, and a section also talks about press freedom to understand that for a meaningful democracy, you need a free press and in fact, the other name of democracy is a free press and if you try to gag the press, it cannot work,” he said.

He noted that another part of the book deals with the need to bridge the gap between town and gown.

“You all will know that in the immediate past the classrooms were way ahead of the newsroom, but nowadays, it is the opposite to the extent that the newsrooms are way ahead of the classrooms to the extent that when we train our students and you employed them, they have to undergo three months or even 9 months training after getting a Bachelors degree from us, that is unacceptable to us as trainers, so there is a need for convergence were practitioners will come to the classroom and the lecturers will go to the newsroom.

“So the other part of this book deals with fake news, misinformation and other ones to understand that fake news has been in existence for a long time, we cannot completely eliminate fake news but we can control it, as far as I’m concerned fake news came to almost 120 years ago, it can be controlled but cannot be eliminated,” he noted.

The book reviewer, Professor Armstrong Idachaba said the book which is an intellectual product of seasoned communication scholars from different communication disciplines focuses on journalism education, media and society, health communication, broadcasting, politics and regulation, digital communication as well as communication policy.

“Based on the quality of contributions, the book is going to be one of the powerful reference materials on media, society and culture in Nigeria, Africa and the world.

“The book’s theoretical and empirical underpinning in offering practical solutions to communication challenges is quite central to our democratic aspiration for development and sustainability. The book’s methodological approach will to a larger extent add value to empirical investigation and scholarship in Nigeria.

“The first part of the book focuses on journalism education and curriculum. This aspect of communication scholarship is foundational because it is where development ideals are integrated and streamlined in the curriculum to suit the developmental aspirations of any nation.

“The book came at a time when Mass Communication field is undergoing evolutional fermentation in the aspect of curriculum development, specialization, and training to suit the global best practices. We are all living witnesses about NUC’s unbundling project to meet the present realities courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation’s grant to Bayero University, Kano.

“Aside from the local content need, the book had critically looked at media production and distribution in relation to the existential ontological dichotomy between journalism theory and practice.

“The dichotomy is rooted from disparity in the worldviews and experiential stand of classroom and newsroom as what is taught in classes largely differs from what is practised in newsrooms in the context of ICT utilization.

“And, one of the ways out is to strengthen the collaborative relationship among all stakeholders and to merge or acquire some weaker communication training institutions for optimal service delivery”, he explained.

On the weaknesses or gaps of the book, Professor Idachaba who is also the Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), said there are several contemporaneous disruptions in the Nigerian media that ought to be examined.

He said the “Reform of the broadcast industry majorly undertaken by the Buhari administration, some of which are celebrated icon offered his expertise and wisdom, leading to revolutionary changes in Promoting Local content, protecting the local industry, checking monopolistic tendencies, boosting the local advert industry.

“Proactive action on hateful and inciting comments and destructive fake news.
Another is the resuscitation of the DSO project and the roll-out of the project to major Nigerian cities. The DSO offers new vistas into the potential of technology and the gains of the Media.

“An obvious gap perhaps is in the interrogation of existing media laws and regulation for both the print and electronic, there is need to review judicial interventions in the process and how they construct or deconstruct existing theories of Mass Communication.”

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Fake news be controlled  ;  Fake news be controlled  ;  Fake news be controlled  ;  Fake news be controlled.

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