The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has urged media practitioners to be objective in their reportage of events and happenings in the society. He spoke on Thursday during the 11th Annual National Editors Conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), entitled, ‘The Change We Need: Role of the Editor.’ The conference was held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Information, Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esho, said the media remained the most viable platform in promoting societal development. According to him, “change occurs when you decide to take control of what you should have, instead of yearning for control in what you do not have. The media has the potency of arousing positive and negative influences. They have moral obligation of ensuring that information and messages dished out to the public are indeed in the best interest of Nigerians and Nigeria. It is most important that editors be mindful of these roles for the well-being and development of the country. Editors and reporters should always be objective and mindful in the ways they write articles, stories and news.”
In his remarks, Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State said the editors had the greater responsibility to air the views of the people and mirror their opinions. He said journalists were the only group given the constitutional mandate to hold leaders of the country accountable.
He appealed to journalists to rise up in order to fashion out a new national value that would birth a Nigeria where ethnicity, nepotism and tribalism, among others, would become things of the past.
Dickson urged the editors and the managements of the media to look inward and do some self appraisal of journalists with a view to maintaining the ethos and ethics of the profession.
John Momoh, Chairman /Chief Executive Officer of Channel Televisions, who was the chairman of the occasion, advised the media on citizenship journalism, saying they should work harder at reporting the pulse of the communities. “There is the need for us to make conscious efforts to go into the community. This development will engender partnership between the citizens and the press. The press has a lot of job on their hands. The editors must imbibe new ways of doing things. Change is the watchword and the editors must take the lead.”
In his address, Acting President, NGE, Garba Muhammad, said the world had come to accept that the only permanent incidence in life was the constant changes people went through all the time.
He said: “Our physical and social environments are continuously changing or evolving, as is our spiritual perspectives on the very essence of life itself. But whereas it is easy to assume that the changes Nigerians hope to see are obvious, it is critical that we examine these expectations beyond the casual understanding of them and to even go further to deliberate on the vehicle that will be deployed to actualise these expectations.”
He said that Nigerians desired a country where the basic ingredients of development, such as stable power supply, reliable and safe transportation system and an independent judiciary, among others, were not taken for granted. “But more than anything else, we want a country that is free from threats; whether internal or external. We want to see convincing performance from our armed forces and corresponding security agencies that they are up to the task of protecting the country at all times.
“The insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria is no doubt one of the biggest sources of concern for every Nigerian, especially those who are directly affected by its brutal consequences. We want to be persuaded that our government can guaranty our security, in line with its cardinal obligation which is to ensure the protection of lives and property of every citizen.”
By Dike Onwuamaeze