By : Shittu Olanrewaju
The fourth estate of the realm appellation of the media requires it to monitor and report the conduct of the Government, adding that as watchdogs, people rely on the media for uncovering errors and wrongdoings by those elected into power.
However, it is expected that the media do thorough investigation bearing in mind the corporate social responsibility of the press to report only accurate and factual news. The press is expected to observe high social standard and responsibilities in performing their professional functions.
In recent time, the internet has redefined how investigate journalism and gatekeeping mechanism is done, as it is now clear that the advent of internet has made almost everybody a journalist.
The paradigm shift of citizen journalism has affected professional journalism practice and the ethics of the profession is being eroded when online reportage is done, giving room for fake news and blackmail. It is terrific, the rate at which fake news and information spread on social media, distorting people’s opinion on issue of National interest.
Sahara Reporters, one of the popular online media platform that plays a major role in agenda mirroring on political corruption by giving the mainstream media outfit the lead to breaking news, which is used to set agenda for public discussions has in recent been found to be grossly involved in peddling unsubstantiated reports and fakenews using its platform.
After a critical examination and review of the activities of the online media by an independent researchers, it was established that, Sahara Reporters media outfit has become a political weapon used by whosoever that can afford its price to tarnish and destroy the image of their opponents or political rivals as most of their news are unverified and are dismissed as fake. The independent researcher further established that Sahara Reporters is broke and are looking for any available means of survival ; blackmailing, false reports , international spy and the rest.
Below are some of the outlined accusations and counter accusations against the online media outfits as a result of their inordinate actions and reportage among others:
NTDA Condemns Sahara Reporters for fake news on #1billion project fund from NCC……..28th March, 2020 ( The punch)
In this report, The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) condemned Sahara Reporters over an alleged #1billion project fund received by the agency from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on the other of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, which the agency declared as libelous and malicious against the person of Dr. Pantami.
Fake news: Indict me, Dino Melaye dares Sahara Reporters.
This was a case between Sen. Dino Melaye and Sahara Reporters. The online media alleged that Dino Melaye, did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State, where he bagged a first degree in Geography. On his twitter handle@ dine_ melaye, he urged the online medium, Sahara Reporters, to go ahead and sue him and ABU, if the online medium was sure of its claims that he ( Melaye) did not graduate from ABU. The Senate later investigated the matter and confirmed that Dino Melaye actually graduated from ABU and also obtained seven additional degrees from different Universities.
Fake News Nasir El Rufai NOT involved in Ghastly accident….14th March, 2019.
Sahara Reporters reported on its platform that the Executive Governor of Kaduna State was involved in a ghastly motor accident, but this was rebuffed by the State Government in a press release.
The Presidency Spokesman,Garba Shehu was quoted saying in 2017 that ‘ Someone must be planting false news in Sahara Reporters to rubbish their reputation ‘ This was said when Sahara Reporters quoted sources said that President Buhari would be going to DC to meet Trump, when he will be in Daura on that day, with no plan for US. departure whatsoever.
To round it up, The Coalition Against Terrorism and Extremism ( CATE) reported sometimes that there is a deliberate agenda by online medium, Sahara Reporters to trigger mutiny amongst Nigerian troops on the frontlines. The President of the group, Gabriel Onoja, in a statement signed; described Sahara Reporters as enemy of the country, promoting external interests against the country, doing so by also violating ethical standards.
Conclusively, Sahara Reporters has no good intention for the Country, let alone the People of this country. It is high time we put the media outfit where it belongs; discarding it in totality. Those patronising the moribund online media for selfish mission will soon meet their waterloo.