Technology through the use of social media, has promoted free media, strengthened democracy and made information about public affairs closer to the people. It has served as a link between the masses and the government without intimidation and manipulation. It promotes the culture of democracy in the modern day society especially in those countries with dictators. It has also, empowered the people by subjecting their leaders under criticisms and scrutiny”.
It checks the abuse of power by political leaders and say what the state-controlled media are afraid to say or write because you cannot locate most of them, their offices or their identities. They operate independently and faceless. There was a time when it was only the print media (newspaper). Then came the invention of the radio, followed by television, digital media (satellite TVs) and now, social media like; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and others. This has made it possible for people to practice the art of journalism at ease. They do this within their comfort zone, that is, from any location they are, thereby, making news quick, faster and handy to the people and also involves the people for collective participation. You can now get news faster and easy especially breaking news when you have your mobile phone in your hand via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. It has made news accessible to everybody via social media so long as you are connected to the internet. It has promoted the active participation of the citizen in politics, civil life and events. It is like democracy in journalism; it educates the people, exposes corruption, and the abuse of power, promotes accountability, enriches traditional journalism and reports both national and international affairs. It plays an important role in the society. Therefore, it should have rules and codes of ethics and guidelines in information distribution to the people. This will help to promote credibility and truth among the social media users. It checks the abuse of power by political leaders and say what the state-controlled media are afraid to say or write because you cannot locate most of them, their offices or their identities. They operate independently and faceless.
Online journalism through the use of the social media, has contributed to the promotion and campaign of human rights as they exposed the abuse of human rights by dictators, war crimes and oppression of their subjects. For example, in my country Nigeria, when the government banned the activities of Biafra, a secessionist movement in South Eastern Nigeria, government-owned media houses always shied away from the human right abuses by the Nigerian government. It was through the social media the world came to know what was happening in Nigeria. Even when the senior military officers and government refused to disclose the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists in the northern part of the country and how soldiers were killed and neglected by the government, journalists were always available to inform the people about the real situation on the battlefield through the use of the social media.
Today, for the people who have no chance of being heard, social media offers an opportunity to participate in the news of the moment. With the help of modern day technology, one is free to participate in giving and receiving news in any part of the world. It gives people the freedom and opportunity to participate and report their stories, whether it is political, entertainment, sports, business, natural disasters or wars via social media networks. Social media provides news to the common people even news traditional journalism fail to broadcast. They give the people a voice in journalism providing news across borders as in Iran, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe under former leader Mugabe amongst others. It has made a big impact especially in North Africa during the Arab Spring when journalists were bared to cover news about the political situation in North Africa.
Through the Social media, people around the world were following the event. It becomes a platform or forum to educate and inform one another about world affairs. As a form of grass root journalism, it tells the people what is happening around the world and most importantly, invite them to participate in the news. Therefore, teaching students social media or online journalism can improve their knowledge in journalism in line with the circumstances of our present time. Journalism schools should incorporate citizen journalism in their curriculum to meet the taste of time, the reality of the present, as a result of rapid digital and technological innovations in order to deliver news faster and quicker.
Online Journalism through the use of social media, made possible by the present day technology, should be welcomed and appreciated by professional journalism as it can serve as a source of raw materials and a public platform for traditional journalism and information dissemination.