About time to regulate online media in Nigeria, The Sun Newspaper MD says

About time to regulate online media in Nigeria, The Sun Newspaper MD says

About time to regulate online media in Nigeria, The Sun Newspaper MD says

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Mr Eric Osagie, Managing Director, The Sun Newspapers thinks it is time to regulate the online media space in Nigeria and restore some measure of sanity in the business and practice.

Osagie, who doubles as Editor-in-Chief of the influential general interest newspaper in Nigeria is one of those professionals seeing the Internet disrupting the traditional forte of the media industry.

In Nigeria, the disruption has seen the rise of online media outlets that have taken a peculiar toll on players in the newspaper industry where theft of media content on the Internet has now become a major issue for the local media industry.

Osagie said this when he was fielding questions during an interview session for Tech@Work, a special Technology Times review of technology disruption across diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy.

But The Sun Newspapers Managing Director wants the regulator to be media industry stakeholders so that the National Assembly don’t hijack the process.

Plagiarism and intellectual property theft have in no small measure affected the revenue of traditional media institutions, Osagie says underscoring that ”many traditional media houses are not making the kind of revenue that should accrue from their endeavour.”

Industry under siege: Mr Eric Osagie, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers seen in photo in interview with Technology Times says traditional media companies are battling plagiarism by online media actors and calls on stakeholders to tweak the regulations to monitor ethics and professional conducts. Photo by Technology Times
Industry under siege: Mr Eric Osagie, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers seen in photo in interview with Technology Times says traditional media companies are battling plagiarism by online media actors and calls on stakeholders to tweak the regulations to monitor ethics and professional conducts. Photo by Technology Times

“Online media needs some kind of regulation but professional bodies should do that regulation because if we let the National Assembly do it, they are going to over-regulate the profession”, Osagie tells Technology Times in an exclusive interview at The Sun corporate headquarters in Lagos.

Plagiarism and intellectual property theft have in no small measure affected the revenue of traditional media institutions, Osagie says underscoring that ”many traditional media houses are not making the kind of revenue that should accrue from their endeavour.”

Speaking further on regulation, he explains thus: “I think it’s even better that professional bodies like Nigeria Guild of Editor, Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) come together than government regulating it, which has the effect of strangulating the media. But if they come together to begin to enact relevant laws, it would be better for us.

“I want to see collaboration, an online platform coming to say: ‘look, let’s register with you, like news agency kind of stuff, we take your materials, and then we credit you, because you are also going to make money from postings.’ You can say, Okay. From every of your postings we take, you can take some certain percentage. So it will be a symbiotic relationship; a win-win”, he says.

The Sun Newspaper MD wants media industry stakeholders to enforce existing law guiding the conduct of journalism so that infringement of intellectual property rights of media industry players on the Internet would be brought to the barest minimum.

”I would make a plea to relevant bodies to put a law in that penalises infringement on intellectual right. But I am told that we have a lot of them. Maybe also, we need to begin to enforce those laws. So, if I see a news item I know I generated line by line, and can prove it, the media house should be able to take the blogger or online platform that infringed on its intellectual property  to court”, Osagie says.

“There has been several instances like that, but I am hoping a time will come when those people who feast and feed on other people’s intellectual property would be made to pay something or pay the penalty. There are so many bloggers who don’t go anywhere. We have one man blogger. We have one man online company; it’s just with their tablet and they are feasting on and pirating your stories, engaging in plagiarism and at the end of it all, there are no adequate law to protect the intellectual property of the traditional media”, Osagie says.

Let's put our house in order: Mr Eric Osagie, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers advises industry stakeholders to do the housecleaning to check the negative side of online media. Photo by Technology Times
Let’s put our house in order: Mr Eric Osagie, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers advises industry stakeholders to do the housecleaning to check the negative side of online media. Photo by Technology Times

The Sun Newspaper MD says theft of media content on the Internet has now become a major issue for the local media industry, and a major downside of the digital age impact on the business of journalism.

In a broad overview of the online media sector, Osagie has this to says about actors in that space: “Some of them do not have training in journalism. They did not go to any journalism school. They do not know what ethics is all about. They do not know media laws. The cyber is free and so many people are running riots there. You know what is free sometimes can cause its own problems. It’s a big issue.”

The Digital Age has brought exciting change to the journalism business, Osagie says but he is concerned over the ever-increasing dimension of infringement of intellectual property, which he sees as a call-to-action for media industry stakeholder to flush out unprofessional conduct.

“We see a lot of our stories online. Some give us credit. Some don’t give us credit and they are infringing on our intellectual right. We spend a lot of money to gather the news. Somebody sits in his house and he is taking your materials. He does not pay you for the contents he is using and at the end of it all, he does not even give you credit”, The Sun Newspaper MD says.

The road ahead: Mr Eric Osagie, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers says, "We believe that we can push a couple of others leading us aside because The Sun is a very aggressive brand." Photo by Technology Times.
The road ahead: Mr Eric Osagie, Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers says, “We believe that we can push a couple of others leading us aside because The Sun is a very aggressive brand.” Photo by Technology Times.

“There has been several instances like that, but I am hoping a time will come when those people who feast and feed on other people’s intellectual property would be made to pay something or pay the penalty. There are so many bloggers who don’t go anywhere. We have one-man blogger. We have one-man online company; it’s just with their tablet and they are feasting on and pirating your stories, engaging in plagiarism and at the end of it all, there are no adequate law to protect the intellectual property of the traditional media”, Osagie says.

Speaking of vision and target of The Sun Newspaper in the next five years, Osagie tells Technology Times that ”The Sun is one of Nigeria’s moving brands, a very strong, healthy brand. I will like to say there is nothing you can do without The Sun. Then, the online, like I said, we are working aggressively to reposition it.

According to the MD of the media and publishing industry’s major player, The Sun, “is doing very well. It is vibrant. But we believe it can be better. We believe that we can push a couple of others leading us aside because The Sun is a very aggressive brand. Maybe if we started earlier than we did, we could have been number one today. But in the next five years, we hope to be leading brand in the print edition and a more vibrant brand online.”

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