At book launch, journalists charged on professionalism
Journalists have been told to uphold media ethics and not sell their conscience to politicians. They were also urged to work towards building a productive and sustainable society. The journalists were charged recently in Lagos at the public presentation of Media and Elections: Professional Responsibilities of Journalists written by the Director of International Press Centre (IPC), Lanre Arogundade.
The book is a collection of resources pulled together from the author’s media career as a reporter and editor, facilitator of several media capacity buildings, as well as, his observation of trends in media coverage of political activities.
The event attracted media stakeholders, government officials, diplomatic corps, royal fathers and many others, as well-wishers, who took turns to commend Arogundade for a book they believe would be of immense benefit to the profession.
They also described him as reliable and selfless servant to mankind.
While reviewing the book, Director, The NEWS/P.M.NEWS, Kunle Ajibade, quoted the assassinated Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch, Dele Giwa, who once argued, “in writing political analysis for the newspaper, the reporter will not have the license to take sides with any of the contestants. He will be expected to be as impartial as humanly possible in analysing the political and campaign strategies of the candidates in a political race.”
Ajibade urged journalists to understand and digest political candidate’s speeches and see if they are pertinent to the needs of the country, as well as, probe the electorate’s reactions to issues, then do a follow-up to ensure enforcement and accountability.
He said, “journalism has gone past the stage in which all a reporter does is to report what a man says, that is basic. But he must take what the candidates are saying to critical and objective analysis. It’s not too late to start talking about the drive behind the candidates, that they have not been debating issues and that they are talking over each other’s heads down to the electorate.
“Voters in this country would still like to know the weaknesses and strengths of the candidates, their resilience and temperament and the character of their advisers. We have heard all the promises but are the candidates disingenuous in making some of them?”
Ajibade noted that the book would credibly show the journalist how to wield his power gracefully to fulfill the promise the constitution imposes on the Fourth Estate of the Realm.
Also, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, who was chair at the event, urged journalists to emulate the author as an ambassador of the noble profession and desist from seeking political gratifications.
While lamenting the poor state of the media industry, Ojudu stressed the need for journalists to document their experiences to help put the profession back on track.
On his part, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, the Orangun of Oke-Ila, 0sun State, emphasised the importance of planning and documentation, saying, “the greatest problem we have as a country is our inability to think of the future. We are only interested in what the system can give us now.”
In his remarks, Arogundade noted that no greater time was the agenda setting role of the media more important, than the time of elections.
According to him, “the information emanating from media sources are not only important for the citizens to make informed choices on voting, but also very critical in determining citizens’ participation in the process. As such, there is the need for the media professionals; journalists-reporters, editors and media managers to understand the imperatives and mechanisms that will make us to be more professional, more conflict sensitive, more gender-supportive and indeed be more public interest/issue oriented in our coverage of the electoral and political processes.”
He said the book would provide practical understanding on the essentials of professional media reportage of elections and the democratic processes.