Os­in­bajo, Okowa task ed­i­tors on ethics, pro­fes­sion­al­ism, jour­nal­ists’ wel­fare

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - FRONT PAGE - From Sony Neme, As­aba

VICE Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo has urged Nige­ria me­dia prac­ti­tion­ers to re­main fo­cused on fair and ob­jec­tive re­port­ing for cred­i­bil­ity and as an un­bi­ased um­pires, es­pe­cially as the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions inch closer.

He stated this yes­ter­day at the on­go­ing All Nige­ria Ed­i­tors Con­fer­ence (ANEC) hold­ing in As­aba, Delta State, with the theme: Cred­i­ble Elec­tions, Sus­tain­able Democ­racy And The Role Of The Me­dia. “The jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sion has al­ways been at a greater risk than other pro­fes­sions and free­dom of ex­pres­sion has al­ways given peo­ple the right to in­for­ma­tion.

“But there were some ac­tions by some reg­u­la­tory par­lia­ments that cre­ated ob­sta­cles for all new­com­ers ex­cept for renowned pro­fes­sion­als and this cre­ated some re­stric­tions,” Os­in­bajo said.

The Vice Pres­i­dent said time was when some­one would say, ‘I read it in the Times’ be­cause what­ever was writ­ten then was ab­so­lutely meant to be the truth but to­day, skep­tics will ask who spon­sored this story?’

“Most of the in­ves­tiga­tive re­ports are broad­cast by the so­cial me­dia, such as blogs, tele­vi­sion chan­nels and many oth­ers.

“The Guild is a so­ci­ety of gate-keep­ers to whom be­longs the re­spon­si­bil­ity of defin­ing the ef­forts, norms and ethics of this pro­fes­sion. It also has the bur­den of set­ting the ac­cept­able rules, con­ven­tions and prac­tices of the pro­fes­sion.

“This gath­er­ing is, there­fore, made greater in a so­ci­ety where cor­rup­tion is the or­der of the day and where there is con­stant fight and the bur­den of The Guild is to en­sure that rules and reg­u­la­tions are en­forced and kept as it is a self-reg­u­la­tory pro­fes­sion,” he stated.

Delta State Gover­nor, Ifeanyi Okowa re­stated the need for ethics and pro­fes­sion­al­ism, as well as the need for own­ers of me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions to im­prove the wel­fare of jour­nal­ists.

He, how­ever, frowned at jour­nal­ists who en­gage in pub­lic re­la­tions job, while chair­man of the oc­ca­sion, Tonie Ire­dia, in his wel­come ad­dress, lamented the dearth of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism in the coun­try.

Okowa ob­served noted that the in­de­pen­dence, ob­jec­tiv­ity and cred­i­bil­ity of the me­dia is be­ing un­der­mined by me­dia prac­ti­tion­ers, who en­gage in pub­lic re­la­tions con­sul­tancy ser­vices to politi­cians.

He also de­cried the dearth of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism and in­ad­e­quate re­mu­ner­a­tion for jour­nal­ists.

“By the time a pro­fes­sional journalist goes on so­cial me­dia to ad­vo­cate or de­fend a par­tic­u­lar can­di­date or pub­lic fig­ure, he can­not be trusted to re­port fairly and im­par­tially on mat­ters con­cern­ing such per­sons.

“This is a clear and present dan­ger to the jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sion and one that this body should strive to con­tain as quickly as pos­si­ble, es­pe­cially as we ap­proach the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions,” he stressed.

PHOTO: NAN

Pres­i­dent, Nige­ria Guild of Ed­i­tors (NGE), Funke Egbe­mode (left); Vice Pres­i­dent, Yemi Os­in­bajo and Delta State Gover­nor, Ifeanyi Okowa, ar­riv­ing for the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 14th All Nige­ria Guild of Ed­i­tors Con­fer­ence (ANEC) in As­aba yes­ter­day.

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