It was barely 6: am on Saturday morning, when the persistent ring of my phone woke me up. I was really pissed off because I had no intention of waking up before 11: am. I looked at my phone and saw that it was an unknown number, ordinarily I would ignore it, but because my phone had been stolen the week before and I needed my contact back, I had to pick it in case it was someone “important” who I should have known. It wasn’t.
The caller started by asking if I was Onyinye Chukwu, trust nah, I had to ask who he was first o. he introduced himself as the media aid to a deputy governor here in Nigeria, and went ahead to present his case.
He said I had previously posted something about his boss that was tarnishing his image and creating lots of problems for him in his office. He went ahead to tell me the history of the rumour, which I cannot deny or confirm, and also asked me to retract the story, and ask other bloggers to do the same if possible.
Beyond the story and the truth or lack of it, and considering the fact that I wrote that particular piece as far back as May, it was a very humbling moment for me. I thought of how bloggers had the power to affect the life of people, even someone so seemingly powerful. Just one little post from me! I know I should have been flattered by the call, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t even remember the post, I had to go back to my archives to search for it.
This brings me to my topic for today…CYBER BULLYING! I read an article by Toni Payne on Myne’s blog and I couldn’t help but agree with her on this one.
Most times we post stories or just copy and paste without taking time to verify these stories, not considering the fact that real lives and jobs are affected beyond the sensationalism and how many visits the stories generate. I think cyber bullying goes beyond making people the brunt of a joke, i think its also tarnishing their images and writing untrue stories about them amongst a host of other things.
I don’t know how many people will read this or even give it a glance, but it is the truth. For a lot of people, all the news they get are from blogs and they buy these stories and take them to be gospel truths.
I have seen people arguing and swearing by stories from blogs like their lives depended on it. I think bloggers owe it to their readers to be fair in their reporting of any news and try as much as possible not to tarnish or abuse whatever cyber "power " they wield.