We attended the 3pm – 4:30pm Social Media, Citizen Journalism, Ethics & Etiquette event at the PEGS Hub: Lagos e-Learning Centre on Lagos Island. The event was moderated by Ayo Alli (@score4africa), Ohimai Amaize (@MrFixNigeria) could not contribute live to the discussion because his Google+ Hangout connection kept timing out; he participated via SMS. The other panelists present were Kadaria Ahmed, Tolu Ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) and Gbenga Sesan (@gbengasesan).
The discussion tapered down to government regulation vs censorship; who is responsible for the social media space in Nigeria? The social media users have as much responsibility in making sure they do not trample on other citizens’ rights even though they, themselves, have right to free speech. Funmi Ajala (Senior Technical Assistant, Digital Media to Ekiti Gov) lamented that citizens go into attack mode with Government; she opined that the youth, especially, are willing to talk but not ready to listen.
To highlight the thinning lines between how citizen journalism breaks news faster than traditional media, some of the panelists used the scenario where Linda Ikeji, a blogger, broke the news about the death of the popular Nigerian singer, Goldie. A lot of Nigerians on twitter thought it was not “proper” or “professional” for Miss. Ikeji to break such news before the singer’s family. The blogger has always asked not to be held to the same standards that they’d hold professional journalists.
Below are some of the key points right from the twitter streams using #SWEtiquette:
Kadaria Ahmed: “Collaboration is key. It holds the correct people accountable and distributes responsibility.”
“Government has no business in the social media space, it should be left to the practitioners”
“Collaboration is key. It holds the correct people accountable and distributes responsibility”
“An educated people/crowd make for an informed debate”
“journalists are trained to find context. get to the bottom of the story. a citizen’s video of an event isn’t enough. ”
“There’s a very very thin line between activism and crime”
@score4Africa: “Social media is a TOOL. Journalism is a PROFESSION.”
@GbengaSesan: “I think the government needs to realize that critics are a blessing; critics are cheap research assistants”
“Words are like eggs. Tweets are worse.”
@ToluOgunlesi: “Citizen journalists + digital media aren’t going anywhere. It’s unstoppable”
“You cant stem d tide of citizen journalism”
@je_mc2: “We have 20th century laws for 21st century technologies ”
@mrfixnigeria: “we abuse social media: there are no regulations. young ppl must learn that power = responsibility ”