The Association of Online Media Practitioners in Nigeria has promised that it will stop at nothing to ensure that elected government officials are held accountable for promises made to people during campaigns.
Speaking on Radio Nigeria Network News on Sunday, OMPAN national president Comrade James Emeh Anyalekwa said: “As an association, we have participated in many activities, such as getting elected representatives to account for promises made to people. Are they able to implement these promises that they made to the electorate before the election “? Anyalekwa said part of the measures to achieve this is through the organization of the project evaluation, which he said the Association has organized in Abia and other states.
He expressed dissatisfaction that politicians apply the use of false news and propaganda to reach the electorate. This, according to him, was the reason why the Association was formed in 2015 after the general elections. “As online media professionals, we wonder if this is good for the political system, obviously not, so we decided to unite and find a way to professionals, we can collectively first guide our members in the use of social networks, the network “The Internet in the dissemination of this information to the masses,” he said.
He said that as the 2019 elections approach, the Association has outlined some strategies to reduce the scope of the propagation of false news and propaganda, which he described as a regressive tool. He said that the Association has an internal body, charged with the responsibility of maintaining public access. “It ensures that the practices and activities of the members conform to the guidelines of professional journalism, we also examine the subject of the verification of the news, ensuring that all news is verified to a reasonable extent,” he said.
Anyalekwa insisted that the Association is not a platform that covers all, stating that before a member can be admitted to the body, a good research is done on their activities and what they have been using their platforms to spread. He also said that part of the measures to improve the professionalism in the practice of online media is to organize a training session for those who have no experience in journalism before venturing into the practice of online media, and equipping them with basic knowledge of journalism.
On how to deal with the wrong members, Comrade Anyalekwa said that the Association imposes fines or annuls the registration of those members to serve as a deterrent to others. “We know our members personally, we know them in their homes, so if you are a member of OMPAN and it goes against our constitution and guidelines, we sanction it in a decisive way,” he said.
He admitted that members face difficulties in verifying all the news, but said that much is being done to improve the credibility of the sources of information. He also called on members of the public who feel defamed by the activities of online media professionals to feel free and approach the Association to obtain redress. He promised that the mechanisms established to guide the members will be implemented later to instill sanity in practice.