By; AMOS MATHEW, Kaduna
Professor Umaru A. Pate of Faculty of Communication Bayero University, Kano has called on Media practitioners to be informed by professionalism and collective national Interest as it is expressly defined in the country’s constitution under the section on State Policy and Directive Principle.
According to Prof. Pate, national interest represents behaviours and actions that are in line with the unity of the nation, peace of the country and its people, equity and justice as well as economic, social and political progress for all.
He made it known in a paper, ‘Reporting Post Elections’ with the theme: ‘Paying attention to the issue of Democratic Accountability’ presented at a capacity building media workshop for 40 political correspondents in North West and North Central Nigeria organized by the International Press Centre (IPC) and the European Union (EU) held at Tahir Hotel, Kano.
He went further to say that, “National Security connotes physical and psychological peace of the people and every unit in the Nigeria nation. It connotes economic safety, absence of fear, threats or any other form of attack on the dignity, freedom and safety of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“News Reporting involves the gathering, processing and dissemination of information about happenings in the immediate and distant environments in the general interest of the people, their well being, safety and societal peace and cohesion.
“Reporting of politics, political activities and all issues should be done in the context of national interest that promotes, protects and projects ideals and benefits of democracy.
He also spoke on post elections, pointing out that immediate post election periods are characterized by ceremonies,
litigations, appointments, settling in offices, unveiling of programmes,
He added that media organisations cover and report all the happenings, but in many cases, government owned media houses redirect their orientations to reflect changes that may occur in the politics of their states.
“After the elections and post election activities, government and media settle for the business of governance and sustenance of our democracy.
“The media has always had the duty of keeping government accountable, promoting and protecting democracy in the context of state, national interest, national security and development. The national interest is expressly defined in the country’s constitution under the section on state policy and directive principle,” Prof Pate stated.
In his paper, he talked about media reports that people depend largely on the media to create images, form opinions and quite often, get guidance on issues and happenings in the nation and beyond.
According to him, media provide early warning signs for authorities to take proactive measures and provide informed explanations on specific issues.
“The media is an important partner in the preservation of national interest and
security and democratic sustenance.
Threats to national interest, security and negative attitudes in the wider society
affect the quality and strength of our democracy and the media need to understand the threats and guard against them”, he added.