By Linda Ike
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has charged Journalists to advance democracy and nation building through media.
Gbajabimila made he charge on Saturday in Abuja at a Capacity building workshop for members of the House of Representatives Press Corps with the theme: “Deepening Legislative Knowledge Through Critical Reporting”,
He said that the survival of Nigerian democracy rested with the media who according to him must provoke public discourse and then hold the leaders to account.
He called on Journalists to sustain democracy through independent and a patriotic press and also to promote accuracy in information dissemination, as well as shun propaganda in the practice of journalism.
“The role of the press in a democracy is multi-faceted. You inform the public and you educate them about the law and government, politics and governance. You record history as it happens and preserve the national memory as a guide and warning for the future.
“And you hold power to account, ensuring that those who are chosen to serve the public interest keep faith with the citizens who depend on them.
” Democracy will not long survive without a vibrant, independent, innovative and patriotic press.” Gbajamiala stated.
The Speaker noted that quality journalism requires resources to train, equip staff and invest in technology to improve content quality and broadcast capabilities
Gbajabiamila who demanded high level of professionalism from media practitioners, regretted that a section of the media had deviated from the norms and ethics of the profession, disclosing that the the increase in access to internet services, and the growth of social media has changed the pattern of news and information from the media.
“we understand as the professional press – newspapers and magazines, television and radio – are now in competition with every member of the public with a smartphone, access to the internet and the inclination to participate in the public discourse.
“While the landscape within which the press operates has changed in dramatic ways, the duties of the press and the public expectation of them remains the same
“We expect journalists and media organisations to maintain a high level of professional conduct; we demand accurate reporting and detailed analysis of public policy and expect the media to continue to defend citizens’ rights, hold the powerful to account and promote the public good through the honourable practice of journalism.me.e.ia.n.s.”a..ujameman2
“We need journalists we can rely on to be our islands of accurate information and context in a sea of misinformation and propaganda manifesting as journalism. Having such organisations and individuals may in time to come, prove the difference between progress and regression and between peace and strife.
“The media is the fourth and last pillar of democracy. It is the role of the press to ensure that the exercise of state and economic power is fair and proper and in service of the greater good.
The Chairman, House committee on Media Affairs, Hon. Benjamin Kalu who spoke virtually called for a synergy between the media and the legislature.
While emphasising on the forthcoming election, He urged the press to focus its reportage around the issues and not persons and avoid character assassination.
On his part, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria urged Journalists to be more organised and effective in reporting the activities and actions of the National Assembly and also to protect the integrity of the reporting media houses.
The Clerk of the House, Dr Yahayya Danzaria urged Journalists to be more organized.and effective in reporting the activities and actions of the National Assembly, and also to protect the integrity of the reporting media houses.
He further urged the leadership of the Press Corps to ensure that all those operating under its banner are accredited and registered media professionals under the Nigerian Union of Journalists.