The advent of social media has brought about the democratisation of communication. The public who has always been consumers of messages has now also become producers since social media is open to everyone who has a device, an account, and data or access to the internet.
Communication has never been more interesting in the history of mankind, and to further explore this, the research entity Indigenous Language Media in Africa (ILMA) in the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Faculty of Humanities will be hosting an online conference titled “Social Media, Fake News and Hate Speech” on 22 and 23 July 2021.
The keynote speakers at the conference will be Prof Pieter J Fourie, emeritus professor of communication science from UNISA, Phathiswa Magopeni, group executive at SABC News, and. Lekan Otufodunrin, executive director of the Media Career Development Network (MCDN) in Nigeria and former managing editor for online and special publications of the Nation Newspapers, Nigeria.
Prof Fourie will present on the topic titled “From journalism ethics to communication ethics”, Phathiswa will address “Indigenous language journalism, d/misinformation and implications for credibility and universal access”, and Lekan will talk about “Maximising social media usage for ‘noiseless communication’”.
“As we celebrate this ‘power’ of communication given to people through social media, we also need to ponder the other side,” says Prof Abiodun Salawu, ILMA director.
“The advent of social media, along with more opportunities for citizens to participate in debates, has given impetus to insurgent politics. This also brought on an increase and acceleration of fake news and hate speech.”
He says fake news and hate speech is nothing new, and have been there since the time of communication by mere word of mouth, and through the advent of print, radio, and television media.
“It has however become more obtrusive with the emergence of social media. This has had a detrimental impact on human relationships and society at large. It has created a crisis and fuelled it to monstrous proportions,” he adds.
The papers that will be presented at this conference will, after a peer-review process, be published in Habari: ILMA Book Series. (Habari is the Swahili word for news). The editors for this book series are Prof Abiodun Salawu and Prof Itumeleng Mekoa.
The conference will be held online via the Zoom platform.
Zoom link: https://bit.ly/3zQ0X4g
Meeting ID: 391 545 4507