Thursday, 9th November, marked the 8th annual Committee for Relevant Art [CORA] Publishers’ forum.
Quramo Publishing was live at the Goethe Institut, Lagos, as partner and facilitator of the conference for publishing professionals and enthusiasts, part of the week-long, activity-packed Lagos Book and Art Festival [LABAF] 2017.
The forum achieved its aim of bringing together industry leaders for an in-depth discourse on topics regarding literary culture shifts in response to a dynamic socio-economic climate in Nigeria and across the world.
The informative event was essentially an interactive session split across four salient subject matters. It involved panellists and an audience cut across the many stakeholders of the publishing industry – including writers, readers, publishers, suppliers, and enthusiasts – debating, and sharing relatable experience, insight, advice, and opinion.
Friederike Möschel, Director, Goethe Institut – the official host of the forum – opened the program with a succinct welcome remark, before handing over to the Head of Information and Library, Safurat Balogun, for an expressive opening address detailing the principles of the institute and their active commitment to the literary world
Our own Tahirah Abdulazeez-Sagaya – Senior Editor at Quramo Publishing – took over the dais, introducing the event theme: A New Consciousness in Reading and Publishing, which is directed at igniting conversation on the emergence of a new age in Nigerian literature.
She introduced Quramo Publishing to the guests and explained its partnership with CORA, LABAF, and Goethe Institut in making the vital event possible. Expounding briefly on the three panel topics which would be discussed during the forum, she set the mood for things to come as she introduced the first panellists.
“People don’t want to know the truth” …profound words from Mazi Nwonwu – Blogger and Managing Editor, Olisa.tv – in response to why a great percentage of people accept fake news – as he joined Jite Afemuaye, Editor, Farafina Ltd., and Chioma Ogwuegbu, Researcher and Enthusiast, to lead a discussion on the first topic, Writing for Enlightenment in an Age of Misinformation.
They encouraged the public to become aware, of overt and deliberate deceit, of negative political propaganda, of truth-altering bias, and of unverified news packaged in compelling forms aimed at influencing acceptance, all reasons why fake news is so readily accepted, even by the most learned, and without proper analysis.
This first panel was moderated by the well-spoke Princess Abumere, host of the Sunshine Book Club, and Deputy Editor-In-Chief, Pulse Nigeria, who commented, “Social media has given people a platform for their voices to be heard…,” in line with Mrs. Ogwuegbu’s admission that, “…the easiness of spreading information on media now, is the main driver of misinformation.”
She opined that a lot of people now rely on new media for information, hence, every individual has the responsibility to report media accounts we have recognised as regular bearers of false news, and to make sure we personally verify posts before endorsing them.
Jite Afemuaye shed light on a different angle, decrying the national curriculum of primary school students, an educational system which discourages the new generation from curiosity and questioning instructions, unknowingly making way for future adults who would believe and accept all information without question.
The four panellists agreed that individuals and groups who deliberately put up fake news should face prosecution, and systems should be put in place to find these perpetrators. The audience were not left out of this critical dialogue, a lot of questions were asked and expertly answered by the speakers, and some views were shared, culminating in diverse perspectives.