Oloja, LASU don, others task media on peace agenda
Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, Martins Oloja, Dean, Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Sunday Alawode, and Publisher of Realnews/President of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Maureen Chigbo, were among distinguished personalities that, yesterday, stressed the need for the media to set agenda for peace.
They spoke at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State Council Press Week public lecture, which was held within premises of Lagos Television in Ikeja.
With the theme: “Paths to National Restoration & Peace,” Oloja, who was chairman of the event, said the media’s heroes of democracy must be celebrated, adding that the narrative of hope should be pushed by publication houses.
His words: “We should hope for a better tomorrow. We must continue to invest in hope. Nigeria is not as bad as some people portray it. We read a lot in Nigeria from the book of lamentation. We should migrate to the book of hope for a better country. We also need national orientation to believe in ourselves and our country.”
He stressed the need for professionals to look into the political economy and funding model of the media. Oloja continued: “Journalism is business, and not for social service any more. There is a need to investigate the political economy of press freedom. Newsprint is not manufactured in Nigeria, but imported from Sweden, and the cost has gone up. Many journalists have not been paid this year, some were not paid last year.”
Similarly, the guest speaker, Prof. Alawode said journalists must let politicians realise that election is not war, and should be conducted peacefully.
Stating that journalists must practise Conflict Sensitive Journalism, he advised: “As journalists and reporters, do your part to contribute to the growth, development and continuity of the entity called Nigeria as much as possible. That is the essence of developmental journalism.”
He observed that most journalists concentrate on reporting election periods only. Describing election as a process, the don advised that the conversation should continue after the poll.
On her part, Chigbo harped on the need for journalists to employ refined language in reportage, adding that the voice of the voiceless like Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and other vulnerable members of the society must be heard. Chairman, NUJ Lagos Council, Adeleye Ajayi, said efforts should be made to address lapses of the 2023 general elections.
“Perpetrators of electoral violence should be arrested and prosecuted. For peace to reign, there must be justice,” he added. Other prominent Nigerians at the event included General Manager, Traffic Radio, Tayo Akanle; former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Peter Dada, and Director, Public Affairs Office, Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Sina Odunuga.
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