Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2017/Sources/Ventures Africa and Wikimedia Dinner on Future of Free Knowledge, Day 1
- 1 Attendance
- 2 What are the challenges in the media/knowledge space in Nigeria?
- 3 What does the ideal media space look like? (Breakout session)
- 4 Conclusion
- Ayodeji Rotinwa - This Day
- Olaniyan Shola - Wikimedia User Group, Nigeria
- Jide Taiwo - The NET Ng / BHM Group
- Vanessa Banigo - Guardian Nigeria
- Victor Ohai - Producer
- Sope Martins - Smooth Fm
- Tokini Peterside - Art X Lagos
Team: Jack Rabah, Zach MCcune, Uzodinma Iweala, Edore Nakpodia, Kaaranja Daniel and David Adeleke
What are the challenges in the media/knowledge space in Nigeria?
The discussion session started with guests making an extensive list of the challenges we face in the media space in Nigeria today. The challenges were then placed under categories.
Category: Government policies and cultural problems
Under this we have:
There is really no Freedom of Information, plus the issue of censorship and the ongoing harassment of journalists.
Intellectual property theft: The lack of education in the context of intellectual property protection matters to how well a creative can secure their work. For example, photographers who know to upload their pictures on websites like Getty Images know that this frees them from legal burdens, because if anyone steals their images, Getty will fight the legal battle for them.
Ownership: Because of the democratic nature of the Internet, it has become more difficult to track ownership of content, materials and ideas.
The legal environment (weak judicial system): The judicial system in Nigeria is weak and this enables/encourages intellectual property theft without any fear of repercussions or punishment.
Abuse of the regard for cultural norms: There is too much respect for cultural norms. Because of the high level of respect that elders and people in positions of authority demand in Nigeria, it is not easy to question the status quo or challenge persons in positions of authority when they are clearly wrong or poorly informed. There is also a general fear of asking critical questions so as not to rock the boat, which indirectly leads to low levels of critical thinking within the populace. So, the question is, how do we get around this and encourage respectful dissent?
Competency: As a result of the poor quality of education around the country, we have poorly trained journalists and media professionals who are often not competent to carry out their jobs effectively.
And because of poverty the journalists only want to report what they can get paid for. They dish these paid stories to the audience, and there is no drive to explore for something original and more thought provoking. So there is no challenge and growth.
Lack of Volunteer culture: There is a general lack of volunteer culture in Nigeria, where people are not very interested in causes that do not directly profit them.
Category: Audience relationship
Audience behaviour: The current audience behaviour is far from ideal. How do we grab and sustain the attention of an audience with a short attention span, that is barely interested in content that requires deep interaction?
Bias and lack of trust: The media and civil society in Nigeria are heavily compromised so news is consumed according to people’s perceptions. The news they consume then molds the way they see the world and increasingly solidifies their cognitive biases.
There are also Communication barriers and as a result low levels of awareness.
Market access or networking: There is a disconnect between content providers and knowledge platforms and their target audience. What the audience wants is oftentimes very different from the content being produced.
Category: Infrastructural issues
Limited internet access and speed
Logistics or mobility problems
Poor power supply
Lack of archival information or verifiable data
Poor data management
With less funding, journalists have less covering power. Narrow funding limits the journalist’s ability to explore stories and investigate. The wider the funding base, the more power journalists have to assert themselves and preserve their professional integrity.
However, external sources of funding (eg private organisations) could also lead to a conflict of interests. Since the media house/ journalist feels indebted to the organisation, this could censor what a news platform could explore.
What does the ideal media space look like? (Breakout session)
We all split up into three groups. Each group was expected to discuss and come up with ideas for what the media would look like in an ideal world.
In an ideal world:
- Journalists travel more often around the country, experience more cultures and understand different voices. They can use this exposure to affect biases about certain areas.
- Build an Uber for creatives, a community with people from the highly experienced to the freshman, the skilled to the unskilled, the writer, the film person to the photographer. A place where people can be trained, they can standardise professionalism and skill, earn standard income and share ideas.
- A glassdoor rating for media companies.
- There are policies to protect journalists. Policies and laws protecting the rule of law should be written in ley terms so they can be easy to understand.
- Young people are engaged in the news cycle and provided with mentorship opportunities.
- More people are aware of volunteering opportunities.
Free internet for everyone.
The theme for the ideas of this group was ‘Culture Unlimited’.
- Restore missing archives of culture and make them accessible.
- Give people unlimited and unfettered access to the internet.
- Encourage ubiquitous participation in media.
- Media should be more responsive and should echo and reflect the experiences of the populace to break divides.
- Free WiFi in public places like train stations, university libraries, bus stops. The free WiFi will be powered by renewable energy and public/private partnerships.
- Crowdfunding for particular stories to create communities around them and ensure accountability of the journalist to the people.
- Mandatory technology training as a basis for online learning. Instead of compulsory skills acquisition workshops, young people should be taught how to use computers and the internet, that way, they can go on and learn anything online by themselves.
- There should be an information authority. That is, a body that rates and audits news platforms and the authenticity of their stories monthly. If there were such a body, fake news platforms can then be reported and identified quickly.
The Media discussions were more technical with a lot of focus on the quality of knowledge, how it is produced, how it is disseminated and how the audience react to it. A key factor is that quality and access to knowledge cannot be compromised; they are very essential to move forward in media, and these can be addressed with a community of creatives, awareness, right policies and of course access to internet amongst other things.