By Amos Tauna
The Coordinator, Africa Media Develppment Foundatoon, AMDF, Mrs Sekyen Dadik, has noted with delight that the emergence of the Internet and the proliferation of different social media platforms have widened the space for interaction for people around the world.
“Not only has it provided ease for the media in terms of disseminating information, it has proven a dependable tool for the Civil Society Organization, CSO, in tracking and engaging government and the general public,” she added.
Speaking in Kaduna, northwest Nigeria on, “Social Media Etcetera”, organized by Africa Media Development Foundation, she noted that the event provides participants an opportunity to showcase how the social media could be further harnessed to enhance public good, engaging public officials for development and promote peaceful coexistence among diverse groups of people.
Mrs Dadik explained, “As a Media Development Organization that provides professional support to the journalists, AMDF had trained a number of journalists in ‘Online Journalism’ and ‘Social Media for the Journalists.’
“This has led to the formation of different platforms like the League of Professional Online Journalists’ (LEPOJ), to promote effective use of social media for information dissemination for the journalist.
“AMDF has also successfully supported the formation of NextMerge, a group of IT professionals working on innovations that will be of benefit to the journalists in carrying out their assignment.”
The Coordinator expressed hope that at the end of the event, participants would see the need to engage the social media in advancing their causes through networking, information gathering and sharing, research, setting of goals, engaging public officials and tracking of personal and community progress.
For the sake of those meeting us for the first time, she added, AMDF in its over two years of existence had successfully trained over a hundred journalists in fundamentals of journalism, specialized reporting, development and investigative reporting.
“We have worked closely and supported a team of investigative journalists in Kaduna. They have investigated and reported stories which drew the attention of government and philanthropists to plight of communities. All their stories have been acted upon – some drawing intervention from patriotic Nigerians, including students. Others have forced government to sit up, while others led professional medical union to ensure discipline among health workers in specific hospitals investigated.
“AMDF had partnered with the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association and Haemophilia Foundation of Nigeria in training journalists on reporting zoonotic diseases and haemophilia respectively; we also facilitated a media forum for National Democratic Institute to promote participation of women in politics, among other activities.
“We have been engaging media executives through round table discussions like the annual Media Clinic; to discuss media development issues to identify better strategies for agenda setting,” she observed.
Mr. Jonathan Gaiya, who presented a paprr on, “Use of Social Media Tools to Advance Human Cause and Civic Engagement” noted that the social media has come to stay in the development of the society in information dissemination.
He explained that ICT has played a crucial role in advancing the work of journalists and other professions through the use of the social media, adding that the social media has changed and shaped the way people all over the world communicate.
Also, a panel discussion on, “Experience in Use of Social Media Tools by Diverse Groups in Nigerian Society and way forward” was extensively deliberated on by three specialists on the best way to use the social media in business, media and other aspects of your life.
Participants were drawn from Civil Society Organizations, media, government, private organizations and individuals for better understanding and use of the social media.