How to promote inclusiveness in media reportage
As an important mechanism for achieving transparency and accountability in any democratic system, the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, has said that the media should not be selective in its reporting rather they should strive to maintain objectivity and verify facts before publishing any story.
Speaking as the lead speaker at the Media (Tweet) Conference with the theme, ‘The State of Transparency and Accountability in Nigeria: Issues for Media Digest and understanding’ organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos, with support of the United State Consulate Public Affairs, Owasanoye who was represented by Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, a Program Officer in the PACAC, said that the media can still play a more effective role in the quest for a transparent and accountable government especially by following professional standards.
“In particular, the media needs to show more commitment to the universal ethics of the profession with strong attachment to the sacredness of facts. Transparency and accountability are fundamental pillars of any democratically elected government. These qualities are significant in measuring the successes or otherwise of such a system, and this is where the media comes in: as a catalyst for nation building and as an anti-corruption watchdog.
“The role of the media in promoting transparency and accountability in a country’s democratic process has been demonstrated by the progressive rise in the use of various information technology tools worldwide. As such, the media has a very important role in assisting Nigeria to reposition itself as a country with a strong commitment to good governance by playing an important role of making public officers accountable to the Nigerian people.”
Owasanoye however noted that the Nigerian Media, though limited in resources, have managed to keep up to its constitutional mandate quite remarkably. He further said that the media has reported corruption cases extensively, and as a result, today, the government is more accountable to its people, just as the citizens have gained insights from the continuous featuring of corruption stories, and the publication of government’s anti-corruption efforts.
“Notwithstanding these wins, there’s more to do. At this point where we are as a nation, we need the media to ceaselessly disseminate information about the developmental costs and evils of corruption in our society. We need the media to anchor its direction towards its famous status as ‘Fourth Estate of the Realm.’ We need the media to re-embrace its fundamental role, not only of performing checks and balances on the other three arms in the process of governance, but to also interpret the activities, programmes and policies of government to the citizens.”
The lead speaker listed some few efforts by the government aimed at promoting transparency and accountability that included the Federal Government signing the Open Government Partnership initiative and commitment to open contracting initiatives.
One of the discussants and the Deputy Editor of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Eze Anaba maintained that every facet of the Nigerian state has become victims of corruption including the media reason many of the media houses cannot pay salaries including reducing their pagination. He also noted that the media has allowed itself to be dogged into semi-consciousness reason many of the corrupt cases that are being unearthed now happened without the media alerting the society.
He however said that the media need to re-tool so that it can be able to speak truth to power observing that the media has not used the FOI Act as it should. He therefore called for a re-energising on the part of the media to use instruments that promote transparency and accountability like FOI Act to call government to action.
The second discussant, Mrs. Sekinal Lawal, hopes that the change mantra being peddled around would permeate through the media too. This is because according to her, if the change does not start from the media, then the change being canvassed by the Buhari led government would be hard to come by. She also felt that Buhari and his team must live by example through making sacrifice of travelling by road whenever they need to move from part of the country to another, sending their children to public schools including using public hospitals for medical.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Director IPC, Lanre Arogundade, said that many of the information the citizens are seeking to know about their leaders and the level of transparency in governance, would have been made available by the media if it practices investigative journalism.
No comments yet