A Professor of Mass Communication and Dean of faculty of Communication and Media studies, Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Prof. Euphemia Chika Asogwa, has advocated media education, responsible journalism and de-politicized regulations to checkmate what she described as “dysfunctional roles of citizen journalism”.
She equally tasked media practitioners and all content creators on the internet to act responsibly so as to sanitize the Nigerian public space that is now overwhelmed with indecent and harmful reports.
FUOYE VC,Prof. Fasina
Prof. Asogwa also canvassed that media regulations must be de-politicized by both the government and the regulators to allow for responsible journalism which guarantees a healthy society.
Asogwa who doubles as the Director, Academic Planning Unit of the University and serves humanity as a Reverend Sister of the Catholic Church, proffered the solutions to the indecorous public space while giving the 14th inaugural lecture of the upwardly mobile University on December 14, 2023 at the New Faculty of Science Auditorium (NFSA). The lecture, which was the first inaugural lecture from the faculty, was entitled: Public Space without Decorum: Reining-in the Media in the Era of Citizen Journalism”.
In a highly insightful, engaging and yet concise manner, she took her audience through her over two decades of teaching, practicing and conducting cutting edge researches in journalism, emphasizing the significant impacts which her findings have had on the Nigerian society. She was rewarded adequately by wild and encouraging applause by students of the University in attendance and members of the audience.
Citing some authorities to explain the concept of citizen journalism, she said: “
Citizen journalism, also referred to as participatory journalism, is an “alternative and activist” (Radsch, 2013,p.2) form of journalism where citizens or general public play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing, and disseminating news or information (Wall,2015). The underlying principle of citizen journalism is that ordinary people, who are not professionals, can be the main creators and distributors of news contents (Seong-Jae, 2016).
“ The advent of new media, such as online news websites and social networking sites, in addition to the increasing popularity of smartphones, have made citizen journalism more viable across the globe (Gilardi, 2016). “
She observed that the practice of citizen journalism in Nigeria in particular, has degenerated into a public space “without decorum “, adding that this unhealthy situation necessitated the dire need to rein-in the Nigerian media.
Prof. Asogwa therefore anchored her recommendations on media education, responsible journalism and de-politicizing the regulations guiding the media space in Nigeria.
Her words: “ Media Education to be mainstreamed into the National Curriculum at all Levels: Media literacy is the way to go. In this era of citizen journalism driven by communication technologies, everyone must acquire the media literacy skills to communicate in this open space. I therefore reiterate the need for a strategic integration of Media Education in our mainstream education curriculum. The reason for this recommendation is not far-fetched; it takes a trained mind to be responsible.
“Media regulations must be de-politicized: While it is extremely difficult to separate the media, including its vested interests and ownership from politics, policymakers must learn and deliberately work towards drawing a clear line between responsibility to the society through the tenets of good journalism, quality governance and politics. In this instance, good governance must begin where politics ends, and vice versa. Enforcement of media regulations must never be selective. The hammer of enforcement should be allowed to freely fall on all defaulters regardless of status or affiliations.
“We must engage and communicate with decorum:Every human being has been generally endowed with the gift of rationality. This singular gift and characteristic distinguish us from other animals. We have been gifted by nature to discern good from evil; right from wrong.
“There is need for institutionalized ethics of communication that must be certified: For all of us to communicate with decorum, it is important we as a matter of necessity take at least a certificate course in communication. Before one is appointed into any management or administrative positions, such a person must run certificate courses in some aspects of communication. This will also make public office holders, managers, and administrators to be responsible communicators. The Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, FUOYE is already pioneering this effort. Our online certificate courses will soon be available and accessible just for a token fee. Avail yourself of this opportunity and be trained to communicate ethically
There should be gender sensitivity and general empathy in our communication. We must learn to respect the rights of others especially women in the open sphere. If we are sensitive to people’s feelings, then we must think, pause, before we compose, post, or repost any message. Therefore, part of media regulation should include removing all avenues that tend to isolate or limit equal access and participation by all especially the underrepresented groups in our society (women).
So today, Mr. Vice-Chancellor Sir, I stand to reaffirm the need for decorum in our engagements in the public sphere and the need to collectively rein-in the media for all of us to enjoy the gateless communication space. But for us to maintain the desired decorum in the public sphere, media literacy remains the key!”.
Vice-chancellor of the University, Prof. Abayomi Sunday Fasina who applauded Prof . Asogwa for spending exactly 52 minutes to present her lecture and described her as dedicated and committed academic, happily declared her a substantive professor of Mass Communication of the University.
Guests and dignitaries who graced the occasion included representatives of the Congregation from the Catholic Church, monarch of the host community to the University, Oba Micheal Ademolaju, the Oloye of Oye kingdom, principal officers of the University including the DVCs Administraton and Academics, Professors Tajudeen Opoola and Olubunmi Shittu, University Registrar, Mr. Mufutau Ibrahim, University Librarian, Dr. Isaac Busayo, Chief Security Officer of the University, Mr. Paul Ogidi, Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof. Wasiu Ali-Oyedokun, deans of various faculties Directors of units and heads of departments as well as a teeming population of s excited students of the University and lecturers who came to learn and also celebrate Prof. Asogwa.
The occasion was organized by the University ceremonial committee constituted by the progressively minded Vice-Chancellor , Prof. Fasina, and is being chaired by Prof. Opoola.