FULL TEXT OF THE SPEECH DELIVERED BY DR. HARRIS CHUMA, PRESIDENT OF ASSOCIATION OF DIGITAL MEDIA CORE ADVOCATES ADMCA,

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DELIVERED BY DR. HARRIS CHUMA, PRESIDENT OF ASSOCIATION OF DIGITAL MEDIA CORE ADVOCATES ADMCA, ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 2021 AT A WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE THE ANAMBRA INDEPENDENT MEDIA SUMMIT 2021 IN AWKA, ANAMBRA STATE

All Protocols duly observed.

Good Day, Gentlemen of the Press. May I heartily welcome all of you to this World Press Conference, on behalf of the entire members and Board of Trustees of the Association of Digital Media Core Advocates, the conveners of the Anambra Independent Media Summit. As you are all aware, ADMCA is a distinguished assembly of media personalities across all formats and platforms that are at the vanguard of RESPONSIBLE USE of digital media in the dissemination of information, in recognition of the fact that the ROLE OF INFORMATION DISSEMINATION is a civic duty.

Since the formation of this group, we have been doing this periodically, in the form of seminars, summits and conferences where professionals gather to discuss digital media trends and challenges; as well as the Anambra Media Excellence Awards, AMEA, where practitioners are honoured and recognised for responsible and worthy practice.
The impact has been encouraging indeed, which is why, we are not resting on this duty against all odds. We will continue to plead with the relevant stakeholders in the society for support to continue this worthy cause in view of the far-reaching influence the media has in shaping opinions and sensitising the people.
Today, we have gathered here to announce plans for the Anambra Independent Media Summit 2021, with the theme: The Role of Social Media in Anambra 2021 Election. The summit is scheduled to hold on April 5, 2021 at Marble Arch Conference Hall, Okpuno, Awka and will have speakers and panelists like Prof Alex- Amata from Delta State University, Dr James Abah from University of Nigeria Nsukka, Amb. Dr Ramas Okoye Akajiofor Ndigbo.

As you are all aware, Anambra remains a leading state in the Federation, and has visibly had one of the most vibrant democratic encounters since the dawn of the Fourth Republic. Coupled with its effervescent media, the state is poised to always present a bustling spectacle during every electoral cycle as we have in 2021. That is why this group has deemed it fit to convene a discourse on the menace called Fake News, Propaganda, Misinformation, Character Assassination and Cyber Bullying. While the digital media has made information dissemination so easy with just a few clicks, it has put the duty of information hawking on every Tom, Dick and Harry, hence the threat of abuse, which we are seeing in the guise of Fake News and in extreme cases, Character Assassination and Cyber Bullying. While laws may not present a fool-proof method of combating these anomalies, we believe social engineering would go a long way in appealing to the thinking faculties of everyone with a mobile device, wishing to put out one information or the other to double check his or her facts to make sure that someone is not being wrongly made a victim somewhere, because what disinformation does most times is to create innocent victims. For instance, a fake post, announcing ethnic violence in one part of the state, could trigger the death of an innocent man in a far-flung location out of reprisal.

Electoral contests, like we believe in ADMCA, must not be won with propaganda or by smearing the image of promising opponents. The media space is so wide to let everyone provide the voting public with an outlay of how each candidate, across party lines, intends to change the fortunes of the state. That is essentially what the citizens intend to hear from the candidates, which is why at this juncture, I will call on the body of image makers of our political gladiators to bring utmost responsibility in doing their jobs. It is true that we must eat, but we need to eat to live another day. Issues are best addressed with issues, not insults. Let us have this in mind while acting as tigers and hyenas online for our principals.

To news consumers, I will urge you to double-check facts before sharing them on the social media. Find out who posted it, when it was posted, and the media house that published it before taking any action. Bear in mind that only a fraction of what is on the internet is true. Google is only a search engine that retrieves information put on the internet. Google does not retrieve the truth. Truth only comes from dependable and credible sources.
In conclusion, may I reiterate our willingness to host the stakeholders in government, the media and the law enforcement agencies at this summit, so we can jointly find solutions to the challenges plaguing our society.

Thank you for your attention and may you have a safe trip back to your various locations.