The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has made a case for the use of innovative radio programming to curb contemporary challenges in society such as illegal migration and the spread of fake news.
The governor made the submission in commemoration of the United Nations World Radio Day, marked on February 13, each year.
He said: “The transformational power of radio presents a crucial tool in mobilising people for action. This latent advantage should be deployed by stakeholders to find lasting solution to the scourge of illegal migration as well as the spread of fake news.”
Noting that the watchdog function of the media bestows on practitioners the latitude to lead campaigns in checking societal ills, he said, “As we commemorate World Radio Day, it is important to stress the role of this medium in engaging all members of society and providing them with critical information they need to make life’s decisions. So, as we advance the campaign against irregular migration and human trafficking, we call on the media to further amplify our efforts.”
He stressed that the trend of fake news in society must be checked so as to maintain the sanctity and integrity of mass communicated messages.
“A lot has been said about the need for people to be more circumspect in consuming information on the Internet, but it must be stressed that the traditional media need to ensure they protect their space. This is so that interlopers don’t rubbish the profession.
“In line with this, the Edo State Government has commenced the revamp of the state-owned broadcasting outfit, Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS), for efficient service delivery. Our goal is to adopt best practice in the management of our media enterprises, deploy cutting edge technology and well trained and motivated workforce in line with the demands of the information age,” the governor said.
On the theme of the 2019 World Radio Day “Dialogue, Tolerance and Peace,” Obaseki said fake news causes strife as it breeds misinformation and ill-will, noting, “This is why people should consume news from credible broadcasting stations, so that they do not fall for the scheming of unscrupulous elements who take to social media to cause discord.”
According to the United Nations, radio is specifically suited to reach remote communities and vulnerable people: the illiterate, the physically challenged, women, youth and the poor, while offering a platform to intervene in public debate, irrespective of people’s educational level. Furthermore, radio has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.