#ResearchB4Comment: Broadcasters and Factual Information

An uninformed population they say, is a dangerous one, but even worse is a population being fed non-factual stories.

In this age of citizen journalism, aided by social media, people rely on TV presenters, OAPS and Print Media for true/balanced news. This is because even though news is everywhere and anybody can be a journalist, it is presumed that the electronic and traditional media dig deep and do investigations to trending news stories before they are aired or published.

Some of the biggest TV stations and Newspaper houses all around the world have in recent times had to apologise for publishing/airing false news. Although it is only human to err, the incidences of airing/publishing false news have become a thing in this age because of lack of research and investigation.

According to pewresearch.org, more than 50% of adults in America get their news from social media. At the end of the 2017 US elections, the term #FakeNews became prominent due to the very high number of false news that made the rounds on the mainstream and social media during the election.

At the end of the historic US election, many analyst and social commentators blamed the loss of the Democratic party candidate, Hillary Clinton on #Fakenews. Unverified news reports and videos were posted on social media, especially Facebook and citizens couldn’t be bothered to do proper research before making comments/sharing the stories across all their social media platforms. This way fake news was spread and nobody was sure what was real or fake.

Another common trend is members of the population with a voice, a huge following on social media who make opinions based on hearsay or just newspaper headlines. These social media personalities have misled thousands of people with their ‘expert’ opinions and have even gone on to write thought pieces without doing proper research. The same goes for OAPS who have commented on social issues and news without doing any background study, thereby misleading all those who rely on them for news.

Media experts talk about the need to carry out research before passing information

In Nigeria, it has become a norm that those trusted with the duty of informing the populace have often fed them false news due to lack of research. Social Media influencers are also guilty of this ugly trend- a recent example is the incidence of the former Chocolate City boss who shared news on the Southern Kaduna crisis without doing proper background check.

As a result of the aforementioned, the Journalism profession seems to be the worst hit, as people no longer trust news from established and reputable TV/Radio stations, Print Media outlets and online media that are supposed to be trusted sources of news and information.

The most important duty of the media — traditional, electronic and online, is to give true unbiased information to the populace but if the media doesn’t have verifiable news, and only rely on social media, and citizen journalists, how then can the populace be properly informed on the daily on goings in their country?

An uninformed population they say, is a dangerous one, but even worse is a population being fed non-factual stories. The importance of TV/Radio stations, print media, online blogs doing proper research before airing/making comments on news stories/social issues cannot be over emphasized. The same goes for social media personalities and commentators, especially those with huge following across social media platforms.

Although the media carries the bulk of the duty to inform, the populace should also do its part by running background checks and research on news stories before spreading them. We are in the age of information where everything is available just a click away, there are no excuses. #ResearchB4comment