Editors reaffirm their commitment to defend democracy and freedom of the press
• Complete public meeting/capacity building training for 350 journalists
• Commend the US Embassy for their tremendous support
The Nigerian Publishers Guild (NGE) concluded its public meeting/capacity building conference in six geopolitical zones, during the week – with the last in Port Harcourt, the South-South zone.
According to a statement, the journalists have resolved not to yield in any way to their historic duty to defend and promote the cause of democracy and press freedom in the country.
The NGE said it has contributed immensely to maintaining democracy in the country, including putting the lives of many of its members on the line – through constant harassment, brutality and death, its members are now better equipped and energized by the training to fulfill their constitutional role of holding government accountable to the people.
The editors who commended the US Embassy in Nigeria for sponsoring the regional training workshop for 350 editors across the six geopolitical zones, urged the embassy to also support the progressive trainings for editors and journalists.
She cites a statement signed by NGE President, Mustapha Isah, and General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, for explaining that having constantly sacrificed their lives in defense of democracy, the editorial staff has also resolved to take up the challenge. sifting through the range of aspirants to the line for the presidency, governorship, national and state assembly elections to ensure that the electorate receives credible information to make choices informed in the democratic process.
”The editors have decided to help ensure that frivolous and unserious candidates, as well as those who have demonstrated no leadership ability, are eliminated from the race.
”That ahead of the 2023 general elections, editors should engage more with other stakeholders such as civil society groups, the Independent National Electoral Commission, security agencies and others to deepen the democratic process.
“Editors should also ensure that parties and their candidates are properly guided along thematic campaigns and discourage campaigns rooted in exploring the ethnic, religious and regional divide that tends to divide the country,” they said. said the editors.
Noting that the media thrives best under a democratic regime, the NGE explained that the media has contributed far more than any section of Nigerian society to inducting, promoting and supporting the cause of democracy in Nigeria.
”While other sections of society were subjected to a military dictatorship, the media stood like the Rock of Gibraltar and had the brazenness to look the military in the eye.
“Unfortunately, despite the country’s enormous human and material resources, many years of democratic rule have not brought significant development in different sectors to make a significant impact on the lives of the Nigerian people. But the media will not give up in their defense of democracy,” the editors added.
Amid growing disinformation, disinformation and deliberate lies in cyberspace, publishers have also decided to explore the use of fact-checking tools to verify stories as part of the process of erasing the credibility gap.
According to the editors, “there is a need for the media to always use fact-checking tools to verify their stories. And that, no matter how reliable a source has been in the past, the media should always be cautious about any disclosure from any source by double-checking the information.”
Noting that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) could help media outlets deal with the problem of source anonymity, especially when faced with legal issues, the editors said it was necessary that the media make more use of the law as part of the decision to inject greater credibility into its stories.
Stemming from conversations at the conferences in the six geopolitical zones, the editors said that while regulating media practice would grant media professionals greater respect like other groups, pandering to the antics of a government, which has always shown an abrasive zeal to cripple the Nigerian media – regulating the media alone will be detrimental to their survival.
“This is all the more true given his insidious use of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) codes to crack down on stations that give vent to anti-government views.
“The editors agreed that the media should strive to regulate professional practice and also ensure good corporate governance on the part of media owners, to ensure an adequate supply of working tools, a better working environment and improving staff well-being,” the editors said. yet added in the statement.