Journalists urged to uphold professional, ethical standards
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, recently urged journalists to promote democracy through accurate reportage. The minister was guest speaker at the launch of Lanre Idowu’s Watchdog or Captured Media? A Study of the Role of the Media in Nigeria’s Emergent Democracy 1999-2016 in Lagos, but was represented by Mrs. Osayanje Osaro.
He said it was the fundamental responsibility of the press to make sure that democracy stands the test of time without any form of compromise, prejudice and hatred in their reportage, adding, “They should always remember that a good name is better than fortune. Therefore, every journalist should adhere to the stipulated professional and ethical standards, as stipulated in the media code and the federal constitution,”
Mohammed stated that the present administration was providing a conducive atmosphere for the media to thrive, adding that the problem, however, lay with media practitioners: “We have ensured that the press does not get intimidated in any way. Unfortunately, the journalists are their own deterrents as they have decided to compromise standards and publish fake stories. I therefore believe that this book would draw the attention of these erring journalists back for them to practice undiluted journalism.”
While reviewing the book, Prof. Adigun Agbaje noted that media practitioners were not operating in their full capacity due to pressure from external and internal forces.
“Nigeria is operating what I call democratic recession and leadership decline both in the media and in government,” he said. “The quality of leadership poses a challenge to the effective practice of the media profession and we need critics to channel this course and I think this book is an effective one.”Agbaje further called on journalists to stop compromising the ethical and professional requirements of journalism, as doing so would make them vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals.
“We also need a qualitative leadership and a strong media institution as parameters to uplift the performance of the media,” he added.While commenting on the book, Mr. Idowu said the idea behind the book was to set agenda for media owners and practitioners to realise their situation in present-day society. He further stated that he wrote the book so as to address the decay of standards in Nigerian media.
According to him, “I have, for several years now, studied the alteration of the practice of journalism in Nigeria. It is pitiable to note that the efficient, vibrant, courageous and determined styles of journalists in the first, second and even the third republic are totally different from those of the past. It is ironic to see that those fearless journalists were operating in a difficult atmosphere, yet they damned the consequences and reported news in an accurate, fair and factual manner. But today, the reverse is the case as journalists now compromise their ethical and professional standards and engage in biased reportage.
“This book therefore is an eye-opener to media practitioners and proprietors to realise their state and readjust the modus operandi of this notable discipline.”Other dignitaries who graced the event were Chairman, editorial board, The Punch, Mr. Segun Adediran, Ayo Olukotun, HOD, Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Prof. Abigail Ogwezu, Prof. Adigun Agbaje, CEO, Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, among other media practitioners.
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