By Patrick Aigbokhan
As part of measures to acquaint practitioners with provisions of the Cybercrime Act 2015, as it relates to media practice, particularly online journalism, the National Cyber Security Awareness Movement (NASCAM), a not for profit organisation, has rolled out plans to organize a Master Class programme for Nigerian journalists.
The programme, which is themed: ‘The Nigerian Cybercrime Law: What Journalists Need to Know’, aims to empower media practitioners with the requisite capacities for maintaining legal decorum online.
Aaron Ukodie, Executive Director, NASCAM, who disclosed the development in a statement signed by Olubayo Abiodun, the organization’s Director of Communications & Mobilization, noted that, during the workshop media practitioners shall be educated and engaged on the rudiments of the cyber law.
“This workshop has become necessary following the fact that numerous media practitioners are not aware of the provisions of the law, regarding their practice such that many have recently fallen foul of the law,” Ukodie said.
The NASCAM leader explained that, going by the tracked trends, Public officers, including the President, Vice President, Governors, legislators (State and National Assembly members), Judges and lawyers, Corporate brands, CEOs and senior officials of organisations and religious leaders are vulnerable to the dearth of knowledge on the cybercrimes Act 2015 by the ‘citizen journalists’ on the prowl in Nigeria.
He warned that the damage to brands and individuals could have multifarious implications if ‘citizen journalists’ are not immediately given the knowledge backing to disinfest them of the dangers inherent in the unbridled dissemination of unvetted information online.
Ukodie said, “The workshop has been scheduled to hold by 9.am on Friday, June 23, 2017, at the Sheraton Hotels Ikeja, Lagos. This would be hosted in close collaborations with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Association of Online Journalists, the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) media and public relations officers in the private and public sector, lawyers and members of the National Assembly. He stated that the faculties would also be drawn from the key institutions including the judiciary, parliament, academia, media, public and private service institutions.”
While NASCAM acknowledges that the evolving and growing threat certainly requires legislation that defines offences and establishes structures for reporting and investigating cybercrime, he underscored the importance of building capacities for the media practitioners in order to create a robust environment for the stakeholders in the media industry.
“It is also imperative that within the constantly evolving cyber landscape, knowledgeable and responsible public information are needed more than ever to frame ethical debates around new digital trends and complex security issues.
The Master class will deepen the understanding of these challenges and also increase knowledge, accuracy and accountability with regards to reporting on cyber threats and foster dialogue and exchange lessons between the sectors in this area,” the NASCAM ED said.
According to him, the Master Class has been designed to raise awareness among the journalists and media officers in the public and private institutions.
“The programme will increase the awareness about their vulnerabilities while working online or using digital devices; and provide them with resources to plan their own security protocols for dealing with complex threats,” Ukodie assured.