Opinion: How Not to Use New Media. By Rotimi Atere

Date: 2014-04-26

The advent of democracy in Nigeria, and the accompanying freedom of expression has opened up the information superhighway. Unlike in the past, the nature of information dissemination is no longer restricted to the conventional media (print and broadcast) but more readily, the social media (what is also known as the electronic media). The growing trend now is journalism online. Through the internet, the face of journalism is changing in the country. Kwara, as a unit of the Nigerian federation has had a fair share of this trend. From the pioneer Ilorin.info to others like Kwaraonline.com, Kwaralefro.com, kwaranews.com, Inside Kwara, e-kwara.com , Kwara Sight, Kwara Eagle, Kwara Facts and lately kwara247.com, the information super-highway has never had it so good!

Give it to them, these platforms have contributed in no small measure to the advancement of information dissemination in the state, a situation that has greatly enhanced informed citizenry with all the resultant benefits. But beyond the giant strides of a few of the above highlighted platforms, it is heart-rending that a new low is fast creeping into the hitherto vibrant landscape where the likes of Dr. Femi Akorede, Abubakar Baba Sulaiman, Yinka Ajia, Oniyanji Kunle Suleiman etc are exchanging credible ideas.

This then brings me to a piece posted by the administrator of the kwara247.com yesterday wherein Senator Gbemisola Saraki was cast in unprintable aspersions. The report, which does not have anybody’s byline, is so offensive that I can hardly revisit it in this article. It is titled: Gbemisola Saraki: Asewo Tofe Di Guvnor.” The article was but a degenerated level of personal attacks hauled by the platform against the person of Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, obviously for no other reason than that she doesn’t share the same political ideology with their paymaster.

The first thing that came to my mind on reading the article is: why? Why would whoever is behind the kwara247 go this low in his hatched job? Does he ever know the implication of going this acerbic against otherwise well meaning Kwarans like Sen. Gbemisola Saraki in the long run? Too many questions begging for answers, Walahi!

For whoever cares to know, Kwara247.com is owned and funded by a former Governor of Kwara State but allegedly managed by his ‘internet savvy’ media aide. To me, the fact that the website has a ‘face’, no matter how remote, should be enough reason why its administrator should thread softly. For his (or her?) information, the law is no respecter of his anonymity. If he believes he enjoys the anonymity offered by the social media, and as such has the license to go dirty, he is damn wrong! It will be better to reflect on the recent rising influence of online reporting and commentary and the resultant fact that more internet ‘journalists’ are jailed worldwide today than journalists working in any other medium.*

To Ilorin circle of online journalists, I urge you all to stand up and be counted in the fight against blackmail platforms like the kwara247.com. We cannot afford to allow junk journalists, hatched jobbers and blackmailers to foul the airspace for us. We must guard jealously against the antics of inexperienced jobbers who would not give a hoot when the chips are down. The future of journalism is online and we are now in a battle with the enemies from within who are using blackmail, vendetta and barefaced lies to redefine public discourse in the state.*

To the administrator of the kwara247.com, the image of the solitary blogger working at home in pyjamas may though be appealing, but when the knock comes on the door, he will be all alone and vulnerable.

Rotimi Atere 
System Controller, FAAN


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