, former CNN producer and current Assistant Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Howard University in Washington, D.C., has concluded her successful trip to Nigeria where she led reflections on press freedom around the world.
Her week-long engagements concluded with a lecture at Pan Atlantic University in Lagos.
The audience included journalism faculty and students, senior journalists and editors, as well as representatives of media development organizations in Nigeria.
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Going by her tweets, Professor Thomas seemed to have had a wonderful time in Nigeria where she met top and fresh journalists and granted interviews to top broadcast stations, including Channels TV and Television Continental (TVC) in Lagos.
As part of her weeklong activities, Professor Thomas conducted a broadcast journalism workshop, granted a series of interviews highlighting the role of the free press in a democracy, and interacted with journalism students at the School of Media and Communication at Pan Atlantic University.
Following the journalism class, she was featured in a Facebook Live session focused on the “Menace of Fake News.”
“Had a great day at @PanAtlanticUni speaking to students and then taking part in a FB Live discussion on #FakeNews with @MOkwocheTVC. Will soon deliver keynote on this #WorldPressFreedomDay #WorldPressFreedomDay2019 #journalismmatters @EmbassyNigerian,” she tweeted on Friday morning, Nigerian time.
In another tweet, she said she was inspired by the journalists she met in Nigeria.
In yet another tweet, she said she had wonderful Wednesday morning in Lagos and granted great interviews.
Some Nigerians were also excited by the interactions they had with her.
Journalist Mike Okwoche of Television Continental in Lagos tweeted that it was “an amazing time hosting” her.
Professor Jennifer Thomas visited Nigeria’s most populous city of Lagos from April 29 to May 3 to lead reflections on press freedom around the world.
The trip was sponsored by the United States Department of State and the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos.
Her visit, to help the United States Consulate General mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, came at a perilous time for journalism.
From the United States to the Philippines, Venezuela to Sudan, journalism is under attack, especially from the White House where President Donald Trump has popularized the term “fake news“.
Mr Trump has particularly launched relentless attacks against CNN where Thomas was a staff.
Dictators around the world, including many strongmen in Africa, have started using the “fake news” slogan to discredit the media and arrest and jail journalists.
Thomas’ visit also came at a time governments around the world are afraid of the power of the new media, especially Facebook, Google and Twitter, as well as online activists and independent digital platforms like TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C. which are reaching millions of people far away from the newsrooms.
“I’m very honored, humbled and excited to serve as the invited speaker for the Media Speaker Program sponsored by the United States Department of State and the U.S. Consulate General Lagos, Nigeria,” Professor Thomas told Howard University newsroom.
“Now more than ever, journalists must unite under the auspices of world press freedom. Journalism is under attack around the world and here in the U.S. It’s vital that we discuss the issues and strategies to protect the public’s right to know under this current media landscape,” she added.
According to Howard University, Thomas visited universities in South Africa last semester, and participated in the South Africa’s Media Freedom Week on the topic of “fake news.”
She traveled with a call-to-action mission for press freedom in Pretoria, Cape Town, and Port Elizabeth.
“Additionally, Thomas was the featured speaker for a virtual program with the U.S. Embassy Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, and discussed the importance of responsible journalism in difficult circumstances with 30 Congolese journalists who are involved in sensitive domestic reporting,” Howard University’s publication said.
At CNN, Professor Thomas played a vital role in the network’s coverage of major news stories and she was honored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her contribution to the network’s September 11 coverage and received the Peabody Award for her contribution to CNN’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina.