Invest in trust, rebuild your communication architecture, experts urge Buhari, others

THE time could not have been more appropriate and the event, better apt. The launch of the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, exactly a day after the nation had just sworn in its new set of leaderships, both at the centre and the states, could not have come at a time a better.

For instance, the  Annual Global  Study Report is  aimed at building trust among institutions, such as government, the media, non-governmental organisations and businesses. And the launch of this year’s edition, at a season when the nation is welcoming a new dispensation provided resource persons at the  event the opportunity to harp on the need for these institutions, especially the new governments  to enhance their communication architecture, as well as engage in activities that would enable them build the much-needed trust, among the citizenry.

Welcoming guests to this year’s edition of the event, the third in the series, in Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer of Chain Reactions, Mr. Jaye Opayemi argued that the  decision of the PR firm to partner with Edelman on the Report, was informed by the need to give the issue of trust the  utmost attention it deserves.

The Chain Reaction boss stated further that quite a number of organisations and institutions  had failed in the past, because they had not been able to garner the much-needed trust from either the citizenry or the consumers they were meant to be serving.

While charging the newly re-elected government at the centre to make the issue of trust a priority in its second adventure in government, Opayemi would also want the government to rethink  and rejig its communication architecture to enable ‘its various organs speak with one voice’.

“I think there is the need for the president to rein in its ministers and other agencies saddled with the task of speaking for the government. A situation where all these pass on different communications, on the same issue for the same government, can not be said to be good enough,” the Chain Reaction’s boss stated.

He also stressed the need for media practitioners to invest in trust, to enable the profession command the much-needed respect.

One of the ways  this can be achieved, he added,  is for professionals to unite in prosecuting the war against fake news. According to him, the issue of fake news has continued to erode public trust in the practice, and the earlier concerted efforts are made to address this, the better for the industry, he argued.

“As professionals, let’s begin to do what our colleagues in other climes  are doing. Let us begin to name and shame purveyors of fake news; since they’ve  continued to do this with impunity,” he stated.

Commending the organisers of the event, the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Lagos Chapter, Mr. Segun McMedal expressed the belief that the Report would go a long way  in enhancing trust in the nation’s public institutions; since the Report is  consistently featuring  some of the institutions for the second consecutive time.

Expressing his delight at the successes the firm had recorded in the area of trust, the  Managing Director, Edelman Africa, Mr. Jordan Rittenberry, disclosed that  the issue of trust is beginning to get the utmost attention it deserves.

He however expressed the regrets that despite the modest rise in trust, globally, two key institutions in Nigeria, government and the media are yet to win the people’s trust.

Jordan believes that the prevalence of fake news in the nation’s media space, had gone a long way in whittling down public trust in that institution.