NUJ President ,Chris Isiguzo, D-G NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa and President of NAWOJ, Ladi Bala
By Bridget Ikyado
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is partnering with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to provide digital literacy and fact-checking skills to stem the tide of fake news.
The Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, while receiving a delegation led by NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo, on Friday in Abuja, said the partnership would promote digital skills among journalists.
Inuwa said that the agency was committed to the expansion of the digital space.
He said digital journalism, media ethics and fact-check would help to promote robust, digital-based journalism that served the best and wider interest of the nation.
“We wish to have people write more on digital literacy, digital technology and economy.
“One of the reasons for the synergy with NUJ will be to curb fake news, disinformation and misinformation,” he said.
Inuwa said the best way to sensitise the public was for NITDA to train media practitioners to learn how to do fact-checks to help them to do due diligence on any information that came to them.
According to him, this is part of the agency’s efforts to help stem the tide of fake news.
He said the NITDA had identified developmental regulation, digital transformation, digital literacy and skills.
“It would help in the promotion of indigenous content, among the seven strategic pillars crucial to the development of the digital economy.
“There is no doubting the fact that we are in the digital age, where everything is now based on computers and the internet,” he said.
He said the agency intended to sensitise 95 per cent of Nigerians on digital literacy by 2030 and the NUJ could help the agency achieve this.
“It is of interest to us, therefore, that our journalists take advantage of the available digital tools to do their jobs better and serve the country better.”
He said he believed that if NITDA trained journalists on digital literacy, they would help spread the information faster.
The D-G pledged the agency’s support to the union on any training or assistance concerning digital economy for social economic benefits.
“We welcome all great ideas of digital literacy by NUJ and other bodies,” he added.
He identified overbearing presence of social media as one the challenges of the digital era.
“Of course, the unregulated social media is a free market place where anything and everything goes,” he said.
He said technology could be used as a tool or as a weapon and only with wide knowledge of these can be curtailed.
“We need to re-skill and update our knowledge on how technology works and harness its use to better the information and technology space.”
Earlier, the NUJ President commended the D-G for the agency’s many trainings, especially for journalists nationwide.
He said the NUJ and NITDA needed a synergy as they drove toward same objective, which would benefit the country.
Isiguzo solicited for the support of NITDA for the NUJ workshop on digital journalism coming up in March.
He said that it was imperative for journalists to be exposed to constant trainings and retraining so as not to pose danger to the society.
He said the trainings would help curtail fake news and encourage knowledge of advance technology.
“If we can partner NUJ and PR Nig on Digital Journalism, the journalists will find it easier to pass it down,” Isiguzo said.
He also appealed to NITDA to help upgrade the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) with modern equipment for easy learning.
“The IIJ needs modern equipment to operate optimally, most of our journalists these days are operating online and need digital technology to align with ,” he said.
Isiguzo also called for collaborative efforts by NITDA for NUJ’s plan to hold a national summit in September ahead of the nation’s independence celebration.
He said the theme of the event would be ‘Digital Journalism for National Development’.(NAN)(www.nanews.ng)