Celebrity blogger Linda Ikeji has made it unequivocally clear that she is now prepared to build her media empire. She has shared her 22 room offices in pictures, press statement, and in recent times a You Tube video. She has also openly reminded us that she likes to “show off” and is “not playing” with her intentions to build an empire that will easily crown her Africa’s Oprah, should she succeed.
As Ikeji prepares to build her empire, she is no longer a woman with a laptop who could and easily got away with some very dangerous practices as a result of her gossip business. She needs to understand that she is now a woman with deep pockets (money) and is always a target for claims, and lawsuits that will either injure her reputation or wipe her out financially. So, while she may be unable to stop legal and reputation claims of wrong doing levied against her, she can ensure she sets best practices for her media empire to thrive. She can do so by avoiding, at a minimum, the following three key very dangerous reporting practices she now appears notorious for:
1.Copyright infringement: I already explained in a previous post that Ikeji will now be completely immersed in the intellectual property world. Ikeji wants to create, market, promote, distribute and monetize content in the entertainment industry (music, film, tv/radio). To avoid liability, her long history of cutting and pasting other people’s work with no attribution must stop. Further, giving attribution is not necessarily enough. Often, Ikeji copies entire content off other authors’ or news organizations’ websites, then writes “source,” names the source and thinks that’s enough. It is not enough to shield her from legal liability. She needs to get an in-house lawyer or work with an outside law firm to ensure she stops such practices that will inevitably expose her to legal liability. See the case of Google’s Shutdown of Ikeji’s blog.
2. Reckless reporting of unsubstantiated facts: Linda Ikeji’s blog, despite it being a gossip blog, used to be reliable in terms of the truthfulness of her reports. It is no longer the case. In a rush to be the first to break news stories, Ikeji now reports unsubstantiated facts that at times have severe consequences on the parties involved. One key illustration of this dangerous practice was when Ikeji reported that an emerging artist was dead, when he in fact wasn’t. Ikeji kept her job but her action chipped away at her credibility in the public eye. Further, her reporting caused detrimental effects on others, including the loss of a job by the manager she allegedly spoke with regarding the death of the artist. See the Skiibii case.
3. Negligent and false reports: This particular practice by Ikeji has caused a lot of pain to many. While she appears to have escaped legal liability so far, I am pretty sure if she continues in this pattern, her dream to build a media empire like Oprah will be very short-lived. An example that comes to mind and is the most recent occurrence of this bad practice is the #SaveMayowa campaign.
Mayowa Ahmed was a young woman with ovarian cancer who made an appeal to the Nigerian public to assist her financially so she could obtain treatment abroad. According to reports, Mayowa had Stage IV cancer and had less than a 20 percent chance of survival. Nevertheless, she and her family held hope and wanted to explore treatment options outside of Nigeria. An actress, Toyin Aimakhu, got involved and helped amplify the plight of Mayowa. Subsequently, Mayowa’s story and appeal went viral resulting in an outpouring by Nigerians who gave generously and allegedly raised millions for the young woman.
Somewhere along the line, Aimakhu had a change of heart because she believed there were discrepancies with the campaign and the intentions of Mayowa’s family. Aimakhu, very emotional and reactionary, contacted Ikeji to communicate a false statement that the campaign was a scam. Ikeji sent a representative to Mayowa’s family who was unable to confirm Aimakhu’s story. However, Ikeji owned the story and reported that the campaign was in fact a scam. The story went viral and unfortunately, the Mayowa family subjected the now deceased Mayowa to watch all the chaos and drama from the Nigerian public questioning whether they were in fact scammed. Ikeji later recanted her story, admitted she was negligent and the report was false but the damage to the reputation of the family was already done. Worse, in her recantation, she seemed more concerned about being a watchdog to police the funds in the custody of the family.
A few weeks after the drama surrounding the false story, Mayowa died. Unfortunately, many in the public believed Ikeji hastened Mayowa’s death and called for her to be held accountable. Whether Ikeji will be held accountable to the family in a defamation lawsuit, or to Mayowa in a negligence claim, for pain and suffering she may have experienced as a result of the false claims, remains uncertain. What is clear, however, is that Ikeji needs to avoid such devastating news reporting. It’s no longer enough to say “I’m just a gossip blogger.” She is now more than that.
She is the owner and head of a media organization. Therefore, ensuring there is credibility, trust and public confidence in her organization is now very important; and cannot be a flyby consideration in reaction to future events that may occur.
Bottom line, Ikeji has built her wealth, so far, through gossip which has attracted polarized feelings of extreme hate or love towards her. Now that she is ready to build her media empire and become Africa’s Oprah, she really needs to give serious thought to ensuring her media organization has best practices that will avoid the very dangerous news/gossip reporting of the past she has engaged in. Not doing so is a sure way to invite great financial and reputational loss.
My 50kobo for all it’s worth.
Linda Ikeji shows off new media empire
The family in the video denies that there was a scam. They also said Mayowa was in distress crying about the false statement and allegation. The family also took to twitter to write the following:
“Mayowa on her sick bed has watched all videos on #SaveMayowa, read virtually all articles written – the lies and unconfirmed ‘exclusives’. From high enthusiasm of funds raised, 2 a low point of being accused as scam to rip humanity of d gift of hope given to her.”
Linda Ikeji’s apology
#SaveMayowa wasn’t a scam after all…my apologies to the family!
People who know me well will tell you that the easiest and fastest way to get money out of me is to tell me you’re sick. I hate seeing people that helpless. Over the years, I’ve donated and also used my platform to raise money for several sick people, including Mayowa Ahmed. Early morning on July 28th, I received a call saying the #SaveMayowa campaign was a scam. That the lady was terminally ill and the family had no intentions of using the money raised for her health to treat her as they had no invite from the hospital in Atlanta, neither did she even have a visa to the US. Please continue…
They wanted me to blog it quickly so people could stop donating. I found it hard to believe at first but it was coming from people who were directly involved in raising money for the sick girl. I sent someone to LUTH to investigate, he got there and found chaos. The Police was already involved, people were being questioned, some folks were shouting, he spoke to people in the hospital and many seemed confused. I spoke with those who had called me, and they said 1000%, the whole thing was a scam.
And I sincerely believe that at the time they told me this, they genuinely believed it to be a fact. I don’t think it was done maliciously. After they sent me documents showing the hospital in Atlanta was not really involved in Mayowa’s treatment and LUTH medical directors denied knowledge of a fund raising for the sick girl, I believed it to also be a fact! And I wrote it. My mistake, I think, was owning the story, I probably should have quoted them. And maybe investigated more. My apologies to the family! The post has since been taken down.
After investigating properly, the police found it wasn’t a scam, that it was more a miscommunication between the parties helping to raise funds and the girl’s family. I spoke about the issue with the Lagos police PPRO and she assured me that the family didn’t have bad intentions.
The happy news is that Mayowa has been flown to South Africa for treatment. She left Nigeria on Thursday August 11th.
May God use her case to show that He is God!
Let’s continue to pray for her!”
Ikeji added the following paragraph that angered Nigerians, which she later redacted.
“What I am happy about is that; even if the family had had dubious intentions initially, now they can’t do any of that, as everyone is now watching. So maybe a good thing came out of the whole chaos.”
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