Ekweremadu tasks journalists on fairness in reportage
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has stated that a society where the people don’t have the opportunity to air their views was dead, stressing that freedom of speech is an essential ingredient of democracy.
He equally charged the media to ensure that it gives voice not only to highly placed individuals but the vulnerable to achieve peace, unity and development of the society.
Speaking in Enugu, while playing host to the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Enugu State Correspondents’ Chapel, he noted that Nigeria’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and creates access for journalists to pursue their stories anywhere in the country.
“In doing so, however, you must try as much as possible to maintain the integrity of the profession by giving all manner of persons fair hearing and opportunity to express themselves.
“Our country is in a terrible situation and the media needs to stand and be counted to restore normalcy and ensure the path of progress. We have had challenges in this country and the journalists have come to help. During the struggle for independence, it was the media that came to the rescue. During the struggle for democracy, the media played a vital role. So, in these trying times, we need you to be active and do your job constructively.
“I have worked in the area of electoral reforms and human rights as well as freedom of information. I believe that people should be able to speak their minds. Nigeria is one of the countries where you have freedom of information in the constitution. So, the Constitution says you have a right to access information anywhere; there are also enforcement procedures in place, which can help you, achieve set goals.
“For me also, I have tried to create a space for your people. I was involved in the establishment of a radio station. It has been on for about nine years now and they are still working and by the grace of God, by October 1, we are going to add another sports station, just to create an opportunity for people to air their views because a society where people don’t have opportunity to air their views is dead. It means going back to slavery days.”
Speaking on the 2023 electioneering, he advised the media to try as much as possible to avoid being used by politicians to feather their nest, stressing, “there is always the temptation of people using journalists to run down people. But I want to appeal to you to work with your colleagues on the moral side of the job. Speculations will not help the job and society. Always be sure of your facts. If there is an award I will like to institute, it is on investigative journalism. Lower the level of mischief and blackmail in journalism. It is only journalists that can help the society.”