Osinbajo, Ambode Urge Journalists to Uphold Code of Ethics

Osinbajo, Ambode Urge Journalists to Uphold Code of Ethics

…Want Media to Confront Digital Challenge, Reassess its Watchdog Role The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode have urged the media to continue to do everything within its powers to ensure that members adhere strictly to the code of ethics to preserve the sanctity of the profession. In his

…Want Media to Confront Digital Challenge, Reassess its Watchdog Role

The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode have urged the media to continue to do everything within its powers to ensure that members adhere strictly to the code of ethics to preserve the sanctity of the profession.

In his keynote address to the 2019 Biennial Convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) held in Lagos on Saturday, Osinbajo urged media practitioners to be open to the reality that the new and digital media was gradually taking over the traditional media.

The Vice President, however, said the greater worry was the fact that the new media had been saturated with several mushroom platforms, which do not regard the ethics of the profession in disseminating information.

“Editors must now take over the online media as seriously as they did to the traditional media and that move has to be unprecedented. What we see today is that instant reporting is making a mince meat of the virtues of cross checking facts before publishing.”

“Since the role of editors is quality control and gate keeping, one of the things they must do is to manage the new media and place some form of control. Some people must take the lead to speak up against the bastardization of the new media as it is gradually relegating investigative journalism,” Osinbajo said who was represented by his Media Aide, Mr Laolu Akande.

He also urged the media to invest in technology and continue to strive to ensure that they maintain their code of ethics, saying that failure to do this will be detrimental to the profession.

“I urge you to continue to abide by the journalism code of ethics of honesty, independence, accuracy, balance and public accountability. The time has come for editors to ensure that the thread of journalists of repute does not become a thing of the past”.

In his goodwill message, Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, said the media must continue to up the ante in its primary responsibility as the watchdog of the society.

Noting that the theme of the convention, ‘Media Convergence As Strategy For Survival’ was very apt, he said the State Government has drawn ideas and policy formation as well as execution from the criticisms and suggestions from the media.

“We have learnt from your informed commentaries, reflecting deep concern about the need for solutions to problems that all of us worry about uninterrupted electricity, efficient transportation, affordable housing and the ease of doing business.”

“What we have witnessed in Lagos state in the past four years and particularly the commissioning of transformational projects in recent times bear testimony to the fact that your criticisms and suggestions towards a livable megacity have contributed to our policy formulation and execution,” he said.

The governor alluded to the fact that his administration benefitted immensely from the coverage of landmark programmes and projects as media monitoring records revealed over 80 percent reportage of the State Government in the last four years was positive.

“I appeal that the Guild continues to see the stables and the titles as stakeholders whose social responsibility to actualise the vision of a greater Lagos will be taken to the next level by my successor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the incoming governor,” he said.

Ambode also commended the Guild for the choice of Lagos as the venue of its conference, saying that it was not just a vote of confidence in his administration for building a safe and secure city, but also an editorial comment on the freedom of the press as a fundamental pillar of the democratic culture of Lagos State.

A media expert and chairman of the event, Mr Dan Agbese, charged the media to tackle national issues boldly by speaking truth to power, to bring the about desired changes.

Agbese, however, noted that the media was struggling for survival and urged all hands to be on deck to rescue it.

He said that the media landscape in the country has been struggling for survival and that with dwindling revenues, the media industry must review its strategies to remain afloat, and stressed the need for collaboration between the various media organisations.

Agbese, therefore, called on media professionals to be modest and humble but to speak truth to those in power.

“It is wiser for us to cooperate so that they can continue to survive for now,’’ he said, urging that they should endeavour to rise to the various challenges confronting the nation, so as to bring about the desired revolution.

“We must begin to do much more. We must start by speaking truth to power,’’ Agbese said.

He lamented worsening security problems in the nation and called on Federal and State Governments whose responsibility it is to tackle the issue to rise up to the challenge.

Agbese also lamented the rising unemployment rate in the country which he warned media stakeholders to guard against by evolving new strategies for the survival of the industry.

In a message, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Adamu Mohammed, said that the Police was doing its best to combat insecurity in the country.

Mohammed, who was represented by the Force Public Relations Officer, DCP Frank Mba, called for the support of all Nigerians to root out banditry, terrorism and all forms of criminality in the nation.

Earlier in her speech, President of the Guild, Mrs Funke Egbemode promised to create more interactive platforms to improve on communication and feedback between the Guild and its members.

She commended the efforts of past leaders of the Guild and reeled successes recorded by her administration in the last two years, which she said included improvements in facilities, as well as the Guild’s assets.

Egbemode said that the union had commenced the construction of a N500 million commercial plaza expected to serve as space for Abuja Editors and rental accommodation for some businesses.

“This current Exco inherited N50 million from the Femi Adesina administration and has grown it, as at December 2018, to N59m,’’ she said.

“All that this exco has done in Lagos and Abuja conferences, conventions, trainings, tours and standing committee meetings, we have done with what we generated,” she said.

Highlighting some of her achievements, she said selected editors from the three zones and different platforms attended the Lisbon, Portugal summit in 2018, embarked on tours to China in 2017 and 2018 and the West African Business School.

“This is also the first NGE exco to broker a relationship with the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, where we have secured three slots for three editors per year, but we have to pay,” she said.

Egbemode, who took responsibility for all noticed lapses particularly, communication, commended the solid foundation laid by former presidents of the Guild, which she said formed the basis of the modest achievements of her executive.

Other highlights of the event was the presentation of commendation plagues to Osinbajo and Ambode by the Guild for their support and commitment to the media profession, while elections were conducted to elect new officers of the Guild.

Egbemode, also managing director/editor-in-chief of New Telegraph Newspapers, was later re-elected unopposed as president of the Guild.

Other officers returned unopposed at the event are Mr Umaru Tudunwada, Deputy President; Mr Mustapha Isa, Vice-President (West); Mrs Mary Atolagbe, General Secretary; Mrs Victoria Ibanga, Treasurer; Mr Ken Ugbechie, Social/Publicity Secretary and Mr. Austeen Elewodalu, Assistant General Secretary.

In a keenly-contested election, Mr. Samuel Egbala was elected Vice President (East) while Hajia Sani was elected Vice President (North).

Mr Steve Nwosu, Mr. Gabriel Akinadewo and Mr Eze Anaba emerged as Standing Committee Members (West). Similarly, Mr Ngwuoke Ngwuoke and Mr Freston Akpor emerged Standing Committee Members (East) while Ms Catherine Agbo and Ms Husseina Ibrahim emerged Standing Committee Members (North).

Veteran journalist, Mr Ray Ekpu, supervised the hitch-free exercise and announced the winners. He described the NGE as an association of equals.

In her acceptance speech, Egbemode thanked the Guild members for trusting her to serve a second term.

“Everybody agreed that I, Funke Egbemode should serve a second term.  While accepting to serve, I want to thank you for your trust. I will never forget or betray this trust. Although I have ideas,  I promise that the next two years will be about what you want and what needs to be done and the integrity of the Guild will be protected,’’ she said.

Egbemode was confirmed substantive president of the NGE at the 12th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference in 2016 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

She emerged acting president of the NGE at the second quarterly meeting of the association’s standing committee meeting, held in Abuja, following the exit of then president, Mr Garba-deen Muhammad, who was appointed Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Egbemode was first elected president of the Guild in 2017

Earlier, there were complaints by some disqualified aspirants, who were not cleared to contest, based on the provisions of the Guild’s constitution. The disqualified candidates called for a review of the electoral laws provided in the constitution.

But Mr Ekpu who apologised to the disqualified members said that the electoral provisions in the constitution would be looked into before future elections.


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