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RAISE OF CITIZEN JOURNALISM IN NIGERIA

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CITIZEN JOURNALISM

Introduction

            Journalism in Nigeria has come a long way, from the colonial era where newspapers were used as tools of resistance to the military era where it served as a platform for expressing dissenting opinions. With the advent of technology and the internet, journalism in Nigeria has experienced a transformation, with the emergence of citizen journalism, which has greatly influenced the practice of journalism in the country (Adesanya, 2017).

            Citizen journalism in Nigeria has gained momentum with the widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It has given ordinary citizens a voice and a platform to share their opinions, views, and experiences with the world. The Nigerian media landscape has witnessed several instances of citizen journalists breaking news stories and sharing firsthand accounts of events (Akinfeleye, 2015).

            However, the emergence of citizen journalism has had a significant impact on the practice of journalism in Nigeria. It has challenged the traditional role of professional journalists as the gatekeepers of news and information. Citizen journalists have now become the primary sources of news and information for many Nigerians, especially in situations where mainstream media are censored or face restrictions (Akinfeleye, 2015).

            Similarly, citizen journalism has encouraged traditional media to be more accountable, transparent, and objective in their reporting. Professional journalists are now more conscious of their role in society and are increasingly making efforts to provide accurate, unbiased, and impartial news coverage (Mbachu, 2018).

            Equally, citizen journalism has provided an avenue for the promotion of citizen participation in governance. It has empowered citizens to hold their elected officials accountable and demand for better governance. In a country like Nigeria where corruption is rife, citizen journalism has been instrumental in exposing corrupt practices and bringing the perpetrators to justice (Mbachu, 2018)

            This does not exist without some challenges, and despite the benefits of citizen journalism, there are challenges and limitations that need to be addressed. One of the major challenges is the issue of credibility. With the ease of creating and sharing content on social media platforms, it is often difficult to verify the authenticity and accuracy of news and information shared by citizen journalists (Oyero, 2019).

            Oyero (2019) stressed that the issue of safety and security. Citizen journalists are often exposed to physical harm and intimidation from those who do not want their stories to be told. The Nigerian government has also been known to clamp down on citizen journalism by using draconian laws to restrict freedom of expression and the press.

            By and large, citizen journalism has had a profound influence on the practice of journalism in Nigeria. It has challenged traditional media practices and has provided a platform for citizens to express themselves and demand for accountability from their leaders. However, there is a need for better regulation, verification, and training of citizen journalists to ensure that the credibility and integrity of news and information are maintained.

            Meanwhile, the verification of information or news shared via social media and blogs platforms has been neglected hence an increase in false information has grown drastically via this medium of communication and interaction, as a result, fake news has become an alarming issue in our day and age. Fake news is simply the deliberate misrepresentation of information or the complete falsification of information spread to the public. “Fake News has reached an epidemic proportion and social media.


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