Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) launched, challenged to practice robust Journalism as Google, Obaigbena, corporates, others endorse

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Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) launched, challenged to practice robust Journalism as Google, Obaigbena, corporates, others endorse

Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) launched, challenged to practice robust Journalism as Google, Obaigbena, corporates, others endorse
November 30
15:09 2015

Press Release November 26, 2015

The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) on Thursday had its formallaunching ceremony with endorsements from world’s number one search enginefirm, Google, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, Publisher of Nigeria’s foremost newspaperThisDay and Chairman, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), stategovernments and corporate Nigeria.At the formal launch, OPAN and its members pledged a self-regulated, process-driven, credible, reliable and a well-structured Nigerian online publishing space.Hosted at the Protea Hotel, Westwood Ikoyi, the event brought together stakeholdersfrom the public and private sectors who were eager to witness a new phase of onlinepublishing in Nigeria.In his opening remarks the President of the OPAN, Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi noted thatwith the increase in internet penetration in Nigeria, there has been an upsurge inonline publishing.Speaking on “Imperatives for Standards” Mr. Awoyemi shared that online publishingis the process of publishing original content, following the best practices ofjournalism.He asserted that the obvious issue in online publishing is balancing “free expression”with the “ethos of journalism”.The OPAN President assured stakeholders that the body will bring to Nigeria, theonline publishing ecosystem with global best practices.Giving her keynote address, the Country Manager for Google Nigeria, Mrs. JulietEhimuan-Chiazor believed the digital space afforded online publishers moreopportunities than challenges, talking on ‘creativity in a digital age’. She identifiedthe fact that through the online space, civic participation in Nigeria has increasedremarkably, citing the 2015 general elections example.Chiazor, however made a bold statement stating, “Any publisher that does not havean online presence, risks losing relevance”. From the Google side, the Nigerian Country Manager hinted stakeholders that its“AdSense” tool offered online publishers an opportunity, to monetize their work.

In his special message at the occasion, Mr. Obaigbena, lauded OPAN on it launch,but urged online publishers to distinguish themselves as journalists, following thepath of transparency, fairness and truth. In his address entitled “Positioning Nigeria’s Online Publishing for GlobalReckoning” the foremost Publisher expressed his delight at associating with OPAN,according to him, the internet is a mass communications platform with members ofthe association realizing that they are Journalists and must go back to old traditionalways of doing journalism which includes investigative journalism and facts checkingbefore publishing. “You go back to the old fashion way of doing journalism, check your facts and writethe truth. So, if you publish the truth, if you publish facts, if you set the right agenda,then you build the right brand online and if you build the right brand, you will getcurrency, you will get audiences, and it is those audiences that you monetize. So, youdo a great business, essentially, I urge you to all return to that age old virtuous ofjournalism,” he said.Obaigbena reminded OPAN members not to forget the purpose of the online space,which is all about journalism and the media. On his part, Mr. Charles Aigbe, Divisional Head, Marketing and Corporate Relations,UBA Group, in his paper entitled “Reporting with Credibility-Building Value & Trustwith Stakeholders” advised members on the need for a fair and balanced reportingsystem that can impact the society positively.Others present at the launch, were the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. PeterObi; Mr. Ahmad Sajoh, Commissioner of Information, Adamawa State; HonourableOssai Nicholas Ossai, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Ethics; Mr.Anthony Chiejina, Group Head, Corporate Communications at Dangote Group, whorepresented Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman of the Dangote Group; Ovationpublisher, Mr. Dele Momodu; Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, who represented FirstBank Group; Mr. Ufot Essien, who represented Zenith Bank Plc; Mrs. BunmiOnyiola; representatives of the governors and governments of Delta, Ogun, Abia andAnambra States amongst several others.OPAN Vice President 1, Prince Austyn Ogannah, Vice President II, Mr. EmmanuelAsiwe and Mr. Daniel Elombah anchored the ceremony, which started at 10.30amand closed at is modelled after international standards and affiliations; with specificdeliverables to meet the needs of the Nigerian market. It desires to deliver a web-based ‘self-regulatory’ service that is founded on global best practice. The mission of OPAN is to advance the policies of high-quality online publishersbefore the Advertising Community, Corporate Organisations, the Press,Governments and the public.
OPAN will help provide some level of high standard reporting online and will serve tohelp its members fairly compete in the marketplace for advertising services, onlinecrisis/issues management for both corporate & individuals and will act as a voice sothat online users clearly understand the benefits that quality publishers provide tothe public discourse.

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