By; KENNETH ORUSI, Asaba
The Nigeria Guild of the Editors and other stakeholders in journalism profession has been charged to make sacrifices that would save the profession from dying or taken over by bad eggs.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Pro. Yemi Osinbajo, gave the charged Thursday while declaring opening the 14th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference with the theme; ‘Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy And The Nigerian Media’ in Asaba, Delta state.
“Today social media has taken over journalism; more people are now going for it in lieu of mass media. Social media is springing up, I can say literary that hundreds of thousands of them are not trained journalists therefore, upon you is the burden of setting the acceptable role to make a very different thing indeed”, he said.
On his part, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State charged the media in the country to work towards promoting democratic principles for the growth and development of the nation’s democracy.
He noted that for democracy to flourish, the media as the fourth estate of the realm has a responsibility in its watchdog role to promote the rule of law, equity, justice and the unity of the Nigerian nation.
“The media, as the fourth estate of the realm has a major responsibility towards ensuring the growth and development of the nation’s democracy.
“It is of note that the Nigeria press is one of the freest in the world, so it is of great importance that the media should realize the position it occupies in the task of nation building,” Okowa said.
He commended the media in Nigeria for its leading role in the fight against corruption, noting that the media has done tremendously well in championing accountability and transparency in government.
“It is worthy to note the great role the media in Nigeria has played in the fight against corruption in public office. It had equally been a great defender of the people,” he said.
The governor also observed that for democracy to flourish, the opposition must be allowed to exist and play its role in governance of the people.
He said that the opposition is a major part of governance in a democracy and as such, should not be intimidated or oppressed by the government in power.
“The government must resist from oppressing the opposition, but rather should realize that the opposition is a major player in a democratic government where there is rule of law,” Okowa noted.
He enjoined the media in Nigeria to draw up a code of conduct for its members, noting that the practice of media professional working as media consultants for politicians have grossly affected objectivity of media reports.
According to the governor, a code of conduct would help guild media practitioners on their conduct especially with regards to their use of the social media.
Okowa also observed the issue of poor welfare of media workers in Nigeria, saying that for journalists to discharge their responsibilities credibly there was need for journalists to be well taken care of.
He however, expressed dismay over poor welfare package for journalists, saying, “a situation where a reporter is unsure of his next pay cheque dose not augur well for the growth of the profession as it exposes them to undue influences from politicians”.
Also, the chairman of the occasion, Mr Tonie Iredia, urged the media to take control and set the agenda for the general framework for the conduct of 2019 general election.
The former Director General NTA said the onion is for the media to be at the vanguard to condemn what is condemnable instead of queuing behind politicians to perpetrate evil that would threaten Nigeria’s democracy.
In her welcome address, the President of Nigeria Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode said the theme of the conference “Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and The Nigerian Media is apt especially in this electioneering period.
“We cannot afford to go about our businesses and leave politics to politicians. A wrong choice next year will leave us with consequences that will last us years”, she said.