Comr Harris Chuma-Odili
The concept of “citizen journalism” is fast becoming a viable reality. The rise of the Internet as a ubiquitous source of news and media has led to myriad paradigm shifts in the news industry, it has evolved into an industry where seconds can make the difference thanks to social media. We live in a world that has transitioned from the traditional media to the online media, and with that comes an abundance of online media practitioners that are using the internet to disseminate information timely.
Lastnight, a notable online media influencer Ms Obioma Obidiegwu was informed about the fire outbreak somewhere in Onitsha. Firstly, she ensured the news was factual and accurate, made some verifications, and quickly went on her Facebook page calling on the Anambra State Fire Service Chief, Engr. Agbili Martin Agility to duty. Obioma made frantic efforts deploying her social media handles calling for a swift action. In response, therefore, the Fire Chief, swiftly mobilised his ever gallant, combatant personels to the scene, and in less than twenty minutes they were able to extinguish the fire that would have claimed lives, and properties worth billions of naira.
Quite acknowledged and appreciated was the timely intervention of the Anambra State Fire Fighters. Obioma’s emmergency calls saved the wailing and gnashing of teeth that would have followed, in the commercial city of Onitsha. It would have been a long night, a festival of fire, blood on the streets, but God said no, not again, not this time. Ms Obioma Obidiegwu is an educationist, fashionista cum social media influencer of Anambra extraction. She has profoundly demonstrated the dire need for ndi online media influencers in Anambra to be responsible and responsive in media activism.
Know that Social media activism is not “iko onu”, “nracha ogbono” or “ikwa iko”, “ikpali mmadu”, “itu onu”, ngosiputa “lipstick anya, imi, nti, nke onu,” and “nfighari ike” anyhow. We should almost always use social media as a varitable tool for social change, social re-engineering and re-orientation, good governance watch, and citizen’s mobilization. Social media activism should transcend beyond promoting and praise-singing politicians, bootlicking and sycophancy. As an online media influencer, you are called to be the societal watch dogs, and not lap dogs. You are charged with the mandate to promote journalistic ethical standards, be you citizen or professional journalist, be fair and responsible. Media practitioners, Journalists working in digital space should maintain (or gain) credibility with the audience. Shun fake news, hate speech, and misinformation, most responsible Journalists would agree that it is important to verify information with their sources, and in some cases it is even standard practice to seek at least two independent verifications from known sources before breaking news. This is all part of good research, due diligence, and a dedication to good work.
Anambra, biko nu, we can save lives with our activities on social media one hundred percent, be productive with your online presence, and contribute meaningfully to the society. Let us join hands to celebrate and encourage Ms Obioma Obidiegwu for effectively using her facebook page to save lives and properties worth billions of naira.