"Fish Out Fake News Peddlers Among You"- Air Chief to Online Publishers (GOCOP)

Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, CAS Representative 

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Bala Abubakar has described online publishers as critical elements in the fight against all forms of criminality in Nigeria by virtue of their advantage of reach, penetration, speed and resilience. 

The Air Chief who was represented by the Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said this while speaking at the 7th Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) in Abuja.

He commended GOCOP for the theme of this year’s Conference, “Roadmap for socio-economic recovery and sustainability,’’ but pointed out that the theme can be achievable only when investors are convinced that the security of lives and properties are assured.  

Air Marshal Abubakar then pointed out the lack of empathy and support for the AFN by both the new and traditional media as well as the dangers the misuse of the social portends to Nigeria’s national security.

According to him, “Social media, which incidentally has become the medium of choice for online publishers, is now an avenue where fake news thrives and information is weaponized, hence the need to guard against such through stringent measures to erring publishers.” 

The CAS further buttressed his point by quoting Peter Singer and Emerson Brooking in their book, “LikeWar: The Weaponization of the Social Media,”  that, “Social media has created a new environment for conflict as it has transformed the speed, spread, and accessibility of information, thereby changing the very nature of secrecy. Yet, while the truth is more widely available, it can be buried in a sea of “likes” and lies.” 

The CAS also seized the opportunity to intimate the audience on his command philosophy and developmental plans for the NAF. 

Also speaking at the event, the Honourable Minister for information, Mohammed Idris, charged online publishers to endeavour to project the nation in good light, adding that by so doing, foreign investors will have the confidence to invest their money and time in the country. 

He urged GOCOP to ensure their members abide by the high standards of professionalism obtainable in the media industry. On her part, the President of GOCOP, Maureen Chigbo, informed the audience that its members will continue to abide by laid down rules guiding the practice of journalism in Nigeria and assured that disciplinary measures have also been emplaced to sanction erring members.  

The event was chaired by the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Ishaq Oloyede, while Professor Uchenna Uwaleke was the keynote speaker. 

Members of the discussion panel included Secretary-General of Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), Professor Yakubu Ochefu; Special Adviser to the President (Policy Coordination) Hadiza Bala-Usman, and Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Assets Management Ltd, Johnson Chukwu.

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