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David Mark Denies Calling For Social Media Censorship

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Last week it was all over the papers that the Senate President, Senator David Mark, was asking for a serious check on all social media, saying these media were using the avenues to send out wrong impressions about the country and the leaders in general.

In this statements the senate president claims he was misquoted.

This is what his special adviser on media, Kola Ologbondiyan described as what the senate president really said at the gathering.

Recently, the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, delivered a keynote address at the Senate press corps Retreat in Umuahia, Abia Sate. The theme of the Retreat was: The Role of the Media in Promoting Good Governance. In his address, the President of the Senate had asserted that “the emergence of the social media like Facebook, twitter, blackberry messenger, YouTube etc have changed the face of the media practice by making information sharing easier, faster and quicker. But this is not without its demerits. Social media has become a threat to the ethics of media practice and good governance because of its accessibility and absolute freedom. Every freedom carries a responsibility. Even in the advanced democracies, where we all agree that good governance is practiced, there is no absolute freedom.

Continuing, Senator Mark expressed the belief that “there must be a measure to check the negative tendencies of the social media in our country. I say this because media practice, particularly journalism, process news gathering and dissemination. It also operates a feedback mechanism and where the practitioners erred there is room for rebuttal. But in the social media a faceless character can post any information that is absolutely false and misleading but will never retract it. At the end of the day one is bombarded with questions over what one has no business with. I suggest that schools of mass communication and journalism should review their curricular to include the operations of social media.”

Senator Mark also informed the audience that since he was quoted out of context that mobile phones was not for the poor myth, he had learnt to read a prepared text wherever he went to deliver an address. “I have challenged anybody to show me a quote in my own words where I said telephone is not for the poor. Nobody has been able to produce it yet I have to defend this everyday that what I said was if you must use a phone then you have to pay for the service.”

Noting that he always love to speak from the heart, the President of the Senate said he hoped and prayed that whatever he would present in his address to the Senate Press Corps at the event would not be misconstrued and misrepresented to Nigerians who were not present at the event.

It was as if Senator Mark saw tomorrow or had a premonition of how his innocuous remark on the social media would be misinterpreted and misrepresented by mischief makers who have been lurking around to attack him.

Hardly had he returned to his seat after the address when mischief makers began to work on their blogs in the social media. The message of the President of the Senate, delivered in a simple language, has not only been misconstrued, it has become misrepresented and had begun to spread like a wildfire. Mark had become the victim of the fear he had expressed before his address.

The wildest among the reactions said Senator Mark had called for censorship of the social media. There were those who said the President of the Senate stated that social media was being used to insult the leaders of the nation like him while others became as mundane as alleging that he wanted the social media to stop criticizing those in authority and to write only their good sides. All these are absolute falsehood.

From the excerpts of the speech quoted above, it is manifest that the President of the Senate neither called for the censorship of the social media nor alleged that the medium was being used to insult the Nigerian leaders like him. He also did not ask the social media to stop criticizing the Federal Government and write only on its good sides. Rather, he called for measures that would check the negative tendencies inherent in the use of the social media. That, I believe, is a genuine call that would help refocus the medium.

One would therefore have expected on-line publishers to join the clarion call made by Senator Mark that the assault to news gathering and dissemination being perpetrated on the social media be checked. There are several instances when social media activists have posted falsehood and readers believed them only to discover later that the post was bogus. How does this help the credibility of the social media as a medium? For instance, few days after members of the National Youth Service Corp posted to Bauchi State went to camp, a section of the social media posted falsehood that Boko Haram sect had attacked the Bauchi camp and about 50 people killed.

It was soon discovered that the information was false and totally mischievous. How can this be justified? Yet Senator Mark did not call for sanctions against those who made such posts but called for a check against such negative tendencies.

For the avoidance of doubts, the President of the Senate’s interest in the media has never been hidden and he demonstrated this in his several interfaces with the stakeholders of the industry before the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill by the 6th National Assembly.

Even at the Umuahia event, he expressed kind words for the media and its conscientious operators by saluting “the courage, doggedness and steadfastness of the Nigerian media.” Senator Mark also acknowledged the fact that “the press has been in the vanguard for the promotion and sustenance of democracy we now enjoy. Even the struggle for independence was pioneered and fought for by the Nigerian media.

“Sometimes I do disagree with you, but the media generally has fared well. They can still do more by deliberately planning and sustaining the efforts to bridge the information gap between the leaders and the led. The press can achieve this if it applies the basic principles of patriotism, accountability, transparency, and objectivity in the discharge of its duty.”

Is it not curious that some social media activists turned the table against Senator Mark by concocting lies and ascribing them to him? Was it for nothing that they ignored the details of his printed speech? Was there an agenda to deliberately denigrate his personage and cast a slur on his hard earned reputation? How else can one rationalize the insistence of some social media activists that Senator Mark called for the censorship of the medium even when his speech showed clearly that he never made such a call?

Perhaps one would have ignored some of the ridiculous posts but for the successive analysis that have been following. It is suspect that in most of these analyses of this hoax, there are subtle attempts to foist a label of “social media must be censored” on the Senate President. This is mischievous, irresponsible, wicked and unjust agenda that will not stick.

Senator Mark did not make any gaffes in his keynote address to the Senate Press Corps on the role of the media in promoting good governance.

Rather, his critics, who have continually ignored the text of his address which he read in the public, are mischief makers.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Matt

    August 6, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Imagine! D citizens whose money has been looted by sucesive govmnt only criticizes them true d social netwok nd they are complainin, a case of urgin us not to cry wen they are flogin us with a stick known as corruption

  2. Nija

    August 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Matt, Did you read the entire article before commenting? the speech give is available. I’ve gone thru it and there was not call for censorship….we have people that just don’t like the man. Give credit where credit is due. We all know we have problem in this country but there is a time and place for everything. I may not necessarily care for you, but if you make a statement that make sense, I will applaud you for it. Simple as that.

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Unknown Gunmen Kill Ondo Traditional Ruler, Olufon Of Ifon

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Unknown Gunmen Kill Ondo Traditional Ruler, Olufon Of Ifon

Olufon of Ifon

Oba Adegoke Adeusi, the Olufon of Ifon under Ose Local Government Area Ondo State, has been murdered by unknown gunmen suspected to be bandits.

Oba Adeusi was reportedly killed on Thursday evening at a spot around the Elegbeka axis of the town.

According to reports, the monarch was initially kidnapped before he was eventually killed.

Also Read: Shehu Sani Raises Alarm As Bandits Allegedly Kidnap Scores On Kaduna-Abuja Road

The monarch reportedly died at the Federal Medical Centre in Owo, as a result of gunshots he sustained during the attack.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Tee Leo-Ikoro, confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

Describing the event as an unfortunate one, the Police spokesman in the state also revealed that two people in the monarch’s convoy were kidnapped.

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Metro News

No Pardon For Rapists, Says Sanwo-Olu

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No Pardon For Rapists, Says Sanwo-Olu

Babajide Sanwo-Olu

Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed that there is no pardon for people indicted in reported cases of rape and gender-based violence.

The governor made this remark on Thursday when he received a 54-page compendium on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence compiled by the Stakeholders’ Committee set up by this wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.

The Committee was set up to give recommendations on how the fight against sexual and gender-based violence can be won.

Speaking at the occasion, Sanwo-Olu, restated his commitment to protecting the vulnerable demographics and getting justice for victims violated.

Also Read: Don’t Allow Conspiracy Theorists Undermine Lagos Security, Sanwo-Olu Tells Residents

The governor said, “I am delighted by the work done by the Stakeholders’ Committee to bring attention to the problems facing voiceless adults and children in our society. Through your efforts, vulnerable people are building the courage to speak out on offences of sexual violence and heal their wounds.

“We will bring people, who have been perpetrating these crimes, knowingly or unknowingly, to book. We will ensure they never walk freely without the full wrath of the law brought upon them. It is part of our responsibility to ensure that the vulnerable members of our society have a voice and have access to where they can get justice when their rights are violated.”

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Metro News

Vendor’s Widow Disowns Family Over N500m Lawsuit Against Gbajabiamila

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Vendor’s Widow Disowns Family Over N500m Lawsuit Against Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila

Josephine Okereke, wife of the Abuja-based vendor killed by a security aide of Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, has rejected the family’s demand of N500 million compensation.

Okereke while speaking to newsmen on Thursday stated that what she wants is justice for her late husband, and not the compensation being sought by his family.

Recall that some days ago, Ifeanyi, her husband, was shot by Abdullahi Hassan, a Department of State Services (DSS) operative attached to the speaker.

Also Read: Family Of Slain Vendor Demands N500m Compensation From Gbajabiamila, Threatens Legal Action

Days after the Speaker promised to ensure justice, the family of the slain vendor wrote the speaker, demanding a N500 million compensation.

Okereke, however, told journalists in Abuja that she was not privy to the N500 million compensation requested by the family.

“I was in my house when within 10 minutes my father-in-law came from Abia, he went out along with his other son and the next day I heard that my husband’s people are demanding N500 million as compensation,” she said.

“I was shocked and asked how will they be doing that and how will the speaker help the children again with such demand. All I want now is that the person that killed my husband to face justice.”

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