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.
Responding, President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Funke Egbemode, stated that Nigerians should be actively involved in making the right choices about those who will lead the country in 2019 and beyond.