In today’s networked world, we owe it to ourselves as citizens to take our collective destiny into our hands and work the talk of the democratic system of government we practice which presupposes that as citizens the government is ours in the first place, given legitimacy by us and by extension therefore must be compelled to work for our collective good – it is time we owned the public space and governance of our country as law abiding citizens.
The average citizens whether as civil servants, business men or women, students, artisans, famers, religious or traditional leaders, groups or non-governmental organizations, etc; when they become concerned and obligated enough to play the role of a watch dog in their respective neighborhoods, streets, communities, local government areas, state or country as a whole then they become citizen journalists/reporters. In other words, the citizens have the responsibility to ask questions or interrogate happenings in their environment and to report same accordingly – that’s the least expected of them.
Thus, the citizen reporter/journalist has a major role to play not only in changing the conventional media landscape but also in playing the patriotic citizenship role of remolding and entrenching good governance, public accountability and of course help deal with transparency issues across board.
This is because as citizens, gone are the ages when we would just fold our arms and wait for a journalist/reporter from some media organization somewhere to come and report what is going on in our community or neighborhood. As a citizen who is right there and on ground in the event of any incident as an eye witness for instance, you owe it to your community and the society at large to simply reach for a phone to document and share what you have seen as an eyewitness.
Ironically, the public relies on official sources such as news organizations, emergency services and government agencies to provide credible, timely information. However, these media organizations or institutions increasingly look to the citizens and members of the public to help source this much desired new information alongside important perspective and context which of course they have the professional responsibility to report under their so-called mantra of professionalism and credibility. Nonetheless, it is no longer hidden knowledge how that along the line of duty such contents not only lose their credibility but get badly watered down by the time they are reported.
This is where the Citizensnewsroom comes in to create a virtuous cycle as an official and established source of near instantaneous and uncensored news platform, providing critical information in times of need by working closely with the people who not only are on ground as the first to see and document any event or divulge vital information but also who bear the brunt of unlawful and corrupt practices especially in both the public and private sectors.
While the journalists from media organisations may be exposed to intimidation, self-censorship and fear of retribution from state authorities or the powers that be, the citizen journalist at this point, broadly speaking, steps in to play a crucial role of how the news is obtained, understood and disseminated.
At the Citizensnewsroom – a.k.a. the peoples’ own newsroom, it is our core mandate to bring the citizens into the process and work with them to ensure that we are all better informed when it matters most.