Editors take self-scrutiny town hall meeting to Port Harcourt
• Top govt officials, scholars, NBA, media experts, others lead discussion
Top government officials, renowned scholars, leaders of ethnic nationalities, members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), traditional/religious leaders, members of civil society groups and others will lead the conversation at the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) Town Hall Meeting/Capacity Building Conference in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, tomorrow.
With the theme, ‘Agenda Setting for Sustainable Democratic Culture’, the main objective of the meeting/capacity-building workshop, which is supported by the United States Embassy in Nigeria, is to scrutinise the performance of the media in consolidating Nigeria’s democracy.
In a statement by its President, Mustapha Isah, and General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, yesterday, the professional body of all editors in Nigeria, said the meeting would also provide an uncommon platform for media stakeholders to remind editors and other senior media managers of the sacred duties they are expected to perform by the Constitution on behalf of citizens.
The statement said NGE had held similar meetings/workshops in five geopolitical zones: South West, North Central, South East, North West and North East.
Drawing examples from democracies around the world, the statement added that the meeting, like previous ones, is expected to instil in editors the need to perform their duties with the highest form of ethical standards and sense of responsibility.
Prof. Benjamin Okaba, the Dean, School of Post Graduate Studies, Federal University Otuoke, who doubles as President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), will deliver the lead paper at the meeting.
“The meeting will provide an uncommon platform for media stakeholders to undertake self-introspection and also begin a conversation on a framework for media regulation, which will not only have their buy-in but also improve the standard for media practice in Nigeria, thereby reducing, if not eliminating, incidents of sub-standard and unprofessional reportage in the Nigerian media.”
“Such conversations and hopefully eventual adoption of the self-regulatory framework could also have a regional spin-off whereby countries within the region, and indeed Africa, could be encouraged to borrow a leaf from the Nigerian example, as was the case with the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria subsequently having a positive spin-off in Ghana.”
The meeting will be followed by a two-day capacity building workshop for over 50 editors selected from print, television/radio stations and online newspapers.
On the expected impact of the meeting and the capacity building workshop, NGE said a pool of editors and senior media managers would be galvanised and would be committed to the highest ethical standard.