Stakeholders brainstorm on effects of social media on broadcasting

Olubunmi  Osoteku, Ibadan

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Stakeholders in broadcasting have resolved that the strength of social media should be streamlined for the benefit of the profession, as it is not a vice but a phenomenon that cannot be ignored or underrated because it has come to stay.

The resolution was reached at the 6th edition of the Nigera Broadcasting Commission, NBC/Yemi Sonde Broadcast Media Stakeholders’ Forum themed, “Social Media Evolution and Conventional Broadcasting: The Nigerian Perspective”, held at the Alumni Hall of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State.

The Convener, Yemi Sonde, in his welcome address, disclosed that in the past 12 years, the forum has had tremendous impact on the consciousness of practitioners.

Affirming that times times have indeed changed, Sonde noted that, “Social media evolution is currently affecting (positively or negatively) the quality, authenticity, originality and trust our audience used to have in the conventional media…Consequently, no professional broadcaster would throw the influence of social media on conventional broadcasting to the winds.”

The Chairman of the occasion, Chief Bamiji Ojo, a veteran broadcaster, who declared the event open, noted that one of the main objectives of the partnership between the NBC and Yemi Sonde is to advance the frontiers of informed discourse and knowledge on issues affecting broadcasting in Nigeria, especially the South West.

Setting the tone for the event, the Director-General, DG, of the NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibo Kawu, stated that the advent and consolidation of social media has posed a great challenge to conventional media in general, and conventional broadcasting in particular.

He disclosed that the NBC code appreciates the importance of social media platforms as source platforms for conventional broadcasting, as social media cannot be ignored nor its impact on the conventional practice of broadcasting underrated.

Kawu however affirmed the need to “create, with a balance, the dialectical interface between social media and the conventional mediated and professionally engaged conventional world of Nigerian broadcasting.”

Three papers were presented at the forum. The first paper, on, “The Influence of Social Media on the Broadcast Contents Presenter,” was presented by Prof. Ayobami Ojebode, Head, Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan.

Asserting that the power of social media cannot be underestimated, Ojebode advised presenters to pay attention to what social media does to them, as there are a lot of frivolities online “and these frivolities eat into the heart and commitment of the people who are supposed to be the guard.”

The second Paper on, “Digital Marketing and the Independent Producer: Challenges and Opportunities”, was presented by Mr Tolu Oluwo, the co-coordinator of PRIBNigeria, an acronym for PR experts, Influecers on social media platforms and Bloggers, in Nigeria.

Oluwo, who defined Digital Marketing as, “any form of marketing done through the internet” affirmed that social media is very powerful and urged stakeholders in broadcasting not to see social media as a vice but find a way to create new channels to streamline its strengths.

The first discussion session, held after the delivery of the second Paper, was chaired by Mr Ambrose Somide, the General Manager, Radio Services, DAAR Communication. The discussants  were: Edmond Obilo, Director of Research at Bilficom Media and Systems; Rev. Niyi Dahunsi, General Manager, Premier FM, Ibadan and Mrs Toun Okewale Sonaiya, CEO, Women FM, Lagos.

Resolving that a professional has to be on social media to correct the ills and give credible information, the discussants noted that there should be self-regulation and a form of responsibility by stakeholders.

The Director of Broadcast Monitoring, NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, presented the third Paper on, “Social Media and its Negative Effects on Broadcasting: The Regulator’s Perspective”.

While agreeing that social media has its strengths and benefits to broadcasting, Idachaba stated that social media has the capacity to create the break down of law and order and warned broadcasters to be careful not to fall for its trap or lies.

The second discussion session, after the third Paper, had as Chairman, Mr Eddy Aina, a former Director at the NBC. The discussants were: Mr Olufemi Ayeni, former Director, NBC; Dr Tayo Omitola of the Cultural and Media Studies Unit of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan and Mr Wale Agbaje, a Digital Media Consultant.

The discussants established that social media is equal to interaction, and human beings will always interact. Therefore, broadcasters should not see the influencers on social media as the enemy but find a way to influence the influencers so they can realise the power they have and use it positively.

At the end of the event, a twelve-point communique was presented after awards were given to the sponsor, media partners and media houses that have always supported the initiative.

Some of the dignitaries present included: the Director-General of the NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibo Kawu; High Chief Adebayo Akande, Chairman of Splash FM, Ibadan and Prof. Ayobami Ojebode, Head, Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan.

Others were: Chief Bamiji Ojo, veteran broadcaster; Oyo State Commissioner of Police, CP Sina Olukolu, represented by ACP Okey Nwabufor; Zonal Director, FRCN, Alhaji Mohammed Bello; Zonal Director, NTA, Engr Omolola Olorode, all the directors from the NBC Headquarters and directors-general of some other radio and television stations in the South West, among others.

Ime Njoku