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NGE gets U.S. grant to build capacity of members for better delivery

By Guardian Nigeria
15 November 2021   |   4:02 am
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has received $226,889 (N93.3 million) from the United States through its Embassy in Nigeria to strengthen the capacity of its members for better delivery of their constitutional duties of holding government accountable to the people.

Mustapha Isah

• Plans workshops, meetings in Nigeria’s six geo-political zones
• To liaise with NPAN, NUJ, others on media regulation framework

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has received $226,889 (N93.3 million) from the United States through its Embassy in Nigeria to strengthen the capacity of its members for better delivery of their constitutional duties of holding government accountable to the people.

In a statement issued yesterday by the guild’s President, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the professional body said the capacity building would include training programmes for editors and other senior journalists on press freedom, democracy, as well as town hall meetings on media regulation framework.

The statement reads: “The project also entails printing and distribution of the journalism code of ethics and strengthening of the NGE’s website – news alerts on media violations. 

“These capacity-building conferences, which will hold in the six geo-political zones across the country, are to provide a platform for editors to be reminded of the sacred duties they are tasked to perform by the constitution on behalf of the citizens.

“Drawing copious examples from the advanced democracies around the world, like the U.S. – after which the Nigerian constitution is formed – the conferences are expected to instil in the editors the need to perform their duties with the highest form of standard and sense of responsibility.”

The body believes that a responsive and professional media would have the spin-off effect of keeping the government on its toes, holding it accountable to the citizens, securing the confidence and support of the citizens and the international community, in addition to advancing democratic growth and consolidation. 

The NGE said at this critical point in Nigeria, especially as it moves towards the 2023 general elections, the country needed a media that could set social and political agenda in support of a better society, by helping to build visions of hope, nudge Nigerians and Nigeria on the path of development, social reengineering and renaissance.

On the town hall meetings component of the project, the statement explained that it would provide a huge opportunity for stakeholders to assess media performance in consolidating Nigeria’s democracy and outlining an agenda for the future.

The guild said it had also planned strategic meetings with the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media-focused Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on framework for self-regulation of the Nigerian media.

“This will provide a platform for media stakeholders to undertake self-introspection and develop 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 eliminate, incidents of sub-standard and unprofessional reportage in the Nigerian media.

“Such conversations, and hopefully the eventual adoption of 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 NGE added.

On the expected impact of the project, the guild said a pool of Nigerian editors and media managers would be galvanised and committed to the highest ethical standard, while taking robust actions to ensure same.

The NGE also hoped that at the end of the project, mobilised pool of editors would be constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people in line with Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).