Mohammed seeks UNESCO media aid

By Gabriella Opara
March 6, 2018


Nigeria’s minister of information and culture has appealed to UNESCO for assistance in growing the country’s media industry.

Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed made the request during a meeting with UNESCO delegate Mariam Katagum last week, explaining that media in Nigeria has evolved and people no longer rely on traditional media for news or entertainment.

“There is no gain saying that Nigeria rules Africa when it comes to entertainment and, again, we want the assistance of UNESCO in developing more, especially in the area of content,” he said.

“We have so much content and so many stories to tell the world but we need to assist the creative industry in training the filmmakers to improve on their capacity, technically, so that they can tell their stories on a better platform.”

Noting that social media had become a platform for the dissemination of so-called ‘fake news,’ Mohammed said more needed to be done to tackle the spread of misinformation online.

“With the telephone, everyone has become a journalist, opinion-moulder and information disseminator. The outcome is fake news and misinformation, and the government is more on the receiving end. We, therefore, appeal to UNESCO to review its mode of operation and assist in addressing the issue of fake news through social media,’’ Mohammed said.

Social media and the advent of fake news has been on the minds of many professionals in the media industry recently. During a conference held this week, John Momoh, chairman of Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria and CEO of Channels TV, also addressed the issue.

Speaking at the Social Media Week event, held in Lagos, Momoh said the industry needed well-trained young broadcasters who can use artificial intelligence to increase content quality. “Artificial intelligence is to improve our work and not to add to the problem of unemployment,” he added.

According to Momoh, the spread of fake news can be stopped by relying on trustworthy media outlets. He also said broadcasting companies should play their part by evolving with the times and becoming available on the preferred platforms of their consumers.

“The biggest disruption to the media landscape is that, now, you have to go after the consumers to ensure they get what they want. We have to cast our content on all mobile devices. Because the world is changing, you cannot do things the same way,” he said.

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