Online Journalism Makes Environment Friendly – Hon. Ben Kalu

…the less newspapers we print, the more trees we have in our forests.

…the less newspapers we use, the more friendly our environment.

BY OBUTE JAMES

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu said one of the advantages of online media is that it makes environment friendly.

Speaking during an interaction with the National Assembly New Media Forum on Tuesday, Kalu said “In this era of desire of echo-friendly environment because of climate change, we can see that the less newspapers we print, the more trees we have in our forests.

“We can see that the less newspapers we use, the more friendly our environment. So this is a critical action that the New Media is bringing to our environment.

In the 9th House Legislative Agenda, we are encouraging “operation green,” we want to encourage eco-friendly environment. And to achieve that we have to begin to use less paper and more technology in the delivery of our information.

Accotding to Kalu, “if we want to develop this country, we have to embrace innovation; we have to embrace the benefit of technology.

“Tradition and convention must give room for innovation if we are going to achieve, the kind of information management, public engagement that the speaker of the House of Representatives in this 9th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila desires, if we are going to achieve the objectives of the legislative agenda of this 9th Assembly as it concerns public engagement, bringing the parliament closer to the people.

“As it involves using the media to educate the people, showcase transparency and accountability, in good governance, using the media to tell our story that will change the narratives that commercial journalism, commercial dissemination of information had before now bastardised the perception of the public of the image of the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly has a very fragile image and that has been fueled by wrong narratives pushed through mediums that ordinarily suppose to be telling the stories the way they are.”

He said “Technology makes the job easy. Technology makes access to information better, and faster.
Technology makes you feel the piece of information as if you were there.

“While I do not condemn the conventional media operations, statistics have shown that the online media is quicker in pushing out information on any event.
But the fear has been that the traditional media over the years have passed through a lot of experiences, it has built a block of knowledge that has helped sustain the principles of good journalism.

“While the New Media is the new child in the block that came with innovation, but appears to be a risky platform for information managers who are still scared that this platforms are not dependable platforms.

“It is left for you to prove the authenticity of what you push to the public. The fear is that the source and credibility of the information that you push out are not strong and reliable.

“You have a lot of job to do.
Work on yourselves. If you want to write in any language, you must be proficient in the language So that the speakers of that language will understand you when you communicate. That you are online does not restrict you to only English Language. You could be online in Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Urhobo, Ijaw, Ibibio or any of our indigenous languages.

“In fact, we are looking for how to engage the public in their own language or pidgin English. But anyone you want to use, it must be the one you are proficient in for better communication.

“The National Assembly is a big institution, to report about it requires that you must be very good in what you do.

“The idea is very good, the innovation of the New Media is very welcome, but the packaging, the delivery is what we are worried about.

“The House of Representatives is willing to partner with the online media, especially under my watch as the spokesman of the House of Representatives.

“Good enough, the Speaker is very interested in working with you. If the Speaker did not show interest in working with you I will not be here. The Speaker has shown interest that we need to do a diversification of media platform so that we can achieve our aim of dissolving the opaque view of the National Assembly, this cloud, the veil that have enveloped the activity of the National Assembly.

“The more we crack it, unveil it the more transparent we become before the people we are representing, and the more they understand through platforms of transparency, the more they understand what we do, the more we are accountable to them, the more the credibility of this institution will rise. And the more the credibility of this institution, the more the confidence of the citizens in this institution. The more confident the citizens are in this institution which remains the fulcrum of democracy, the more they believe in the principles of the rule of democracy because this is the backbone of democracy.

“Why the public is attacking the National Assembly is because they don’t seem to understand what we are doing here.

“And that is why the leadership of the House, came out with the Green Chamber magazine which is out there educating the public on the activities of the House of Representatives from the horses’ mouth. The magazine is out there telling our stories, not for the purpose of self-praise, but to change the narratives with the truth and not commercialized facts, or views. And it is working, whether that is enough, the answer is no.

“And that is why we seek strategic partnership with people like you, the online media who control the bulk of social media participants.

I know most of you are social media influencers, so strategic partnership with you means that the stake that you are holding, the New Media industry automatically becomes our mouthpiece, so we can speak through you.”

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