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Cleric Advises Journalists To Shun Reportage Of Fake News, Promote Peace
The Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Abeokuta, Most Rev. Peter Odetoyinbo, has advised media professionals to desist from disseminating fake news or false information ahead of the 2019 general election.
Odetoyinbo gave the advice on Monday in an interview with journalists at the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral, Itesi in Abeokuta
He said that the spread of fake news and false information through the media had become worrisome and alarming.
According to the Bishop, the ugly trend had become dangerous and capable of destroying relationships, families and was also used to exploit others.
The bishop said that journalism was a vocation for the promotion of family, societal, economic, religious, intellectual, moral and many other values.
He appealed to media professionals to promote peace and be socially responsible, urging them to be wary of the antics of politicians.
“The path to peace in the world is in your hands and more importantly in our situation in Nigeria that is heated up by killings, kidnappings, raping, denial of rights to life and good living conditions.
“As we are preparing for the 2019 elections with the era of hate speeches, the press must take responsibility for its contribution to the peace or troubles in Nigeria by what they give out.
“Remember your children and families are also part of the recipients of this news, good or fake.
“If responsibility is the answer to the spread of fake news, then a weighty responsibility rests on the shoulders of those whose job is to provide information, you the journalist,” Odetoyinbo said.
He said that that Pope Francis was seriously concerned about the effects of fake news on the world and demanded urgent action to arrest the situation.
“You are in touch with peoples’ lives for all you write and post and so you must be sure of what you disseminate and ensuring accuracy of sources, protection of dignity of persons.
“Generating trust and opening the way to communion and peace, this is what Nigeria need,’’ he said.
Speaking on the insecurity challenges , Odetoyinbo appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to tackle the killings and insecurity situation in some parts of the country.