Harnessing role of media in nation building amidst challenges
The primary roles of the media in any society including informing, educating and entertaining are so important that societies can hardly progress meaningfully without a vibrant press. Hence, the media must strive to live up to the expectations of the people in advancing national growth and development no matter the constraints and challenges that stand in its way.
This was the resolutions of stakeholders who gathered at the 2019 inaugural week and awards of Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), Lagos Traffic Radio Chapel held recently with the theme, ‘’Democracy and sustainable development: Reinventing media agenda for good governance’’.
They include a former National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Lai Olurode, General Manager, Lagos Traffic Radio, Tayo Akanle, Group Managing Director, Odua Investment Ltd., Adewale Raji, and Chairman, Lagos Council of NUJ, Dr. Qasim Akinreti.
The forum agreed that in performing other roles, the media must at all times live up to its watchdog role of holding the government accountable. It must also make great efforts in promoting those things that unite the nation while constructively addressing the more divisive issues marauding its coexistence.
The keynote speaker, Olurode asserted that media was central to the functioning of society and to individual’s ability to acquire information about the wider society.
Olurode explained that the agenda-setting role of the media makes it possible for any activity reported by the media to get noticed, hence, media must, therefore, make national security, poverty, production, youth unemployment part of its principal agenda so as to make positive impacts.
He further advocated for an informed media activism driven by research in support of freedom and development, a media specialisation that reflects socio-economic imperatives and social protection for media practitioners.
Highlighting the role of the media in ensuring good governance, the professor of sociology said good governance includes the manner in which power is vested and exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development.
He, however, maintained that governance couldn’t be said to be a monopoly of democracy. Though international observers may not regard Africa’s traditional political institutions and practices as democratic, in terms of admitting political participation and responding to the provision of public goods through its moral economy of the peasantry, the defining criteria of good governance would have been met.
Decrying the level of illiteracy as well as low remuneration for practitioners, he advised training and continuous training for the professionals.
He said, “There are certain conditions that are associated with the effectiveness of the media is playing its role of giving information, educating and entertaining the populace.
“The media needs to be well informed and properly reoriented on its duties and functions, especially in terms of training, ideological orientation and relationship between classes in the society, so that they will be able to take a position as to which side of the debate to follow. To drive policies and positive decisions for the ordinary citizen, and not a parochial interest of a narrow member of the public.’’
He further commended the role so far played by the media in the country’s democratic process and national development, adding that the nation’s democracy wouldn’t be fruitful without the media.
The don predicated that democratisation of media in Nigeria is going to become more enhanced and will continue to go down and become an aberration with more years of democratic practice.
Meanwhile, Raji, as the chairman of the occasion opined that the work of nation-building should be a collective one.
He said while the media continues to effectively champion sustainable development efforts in all the sectors of the economy, the people must through enlightened participation hold leaders accountable.
The event also featured an award ceremony where individuals who distinguished themselves in various sectors of the economy were recognized. They include Chief Executive Officer, Sifax Group, Dr. Olayinka Afolabi, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, Chairman, Mufsuf transport, Mufutau Mutiu, Lagos State Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Tajudeen Agbede, Secretary, transportation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kayode Opeifa amongst others.
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