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Journalists urged to adhere to professional ethics


AKURE – Journalists have been urged to discharge their responsibilities according to the ethics of the profession

This call is contained in a communique issued in Akure on Thursday at the end of a two day workshop organised by Nigerian Press Council in conjunction with Diamond Publications Ltd.

The communiqué, signed by the Acting Executive Secretary of the council, Mr Nnamdi Njemanze, also urged the media to continually monitor government.

“This is to ensure that government is to be made to serve the people, as democracy is people-centred.’’

It said that the media should continue to uphold integrity and professionalism and avoid publishing outrageous claims by people with vested interests without substantive evidence.

“The media should de-escalate tension in the polity by ensuring that they do not parrot libelous and spurious allegations against the opposition.

“ The media should sift and verify every political comment to ensure its factuality before reporting it”, it stated.

It urged the media to set agenda for the political class by scientifically identifying issues of public interest to the electorate and establish the different positions of those seeking public office.

It decried the situation where politicians now set agenda for the media.

It urged Journalists to always ask relevant and probing questions from politicians and compare their electoral promises with their performance in office.

“In fulfillment of their role as educators, journalists should study and understand the electoral law and explain it to the people”, it said.

The communiqué called on the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) to come up with common guidelines that could serve as parameters for election reporting in the country.

It said such guidelines would stop media owners and controllers from using their platforms for pecuniary interests at the expense of national and professional good.

“Reporters have great power and they must be encouraged to wield it in an ethical and professional manner, conscious that inaccurate election reportage can trigger avoidable violence.

“The media and journalists should gauge the mood of the electorate to ensure that the voices of the people are actually heard during elections through opinion polls and observations.

“Political reporters and columnists should be careful with their use of language and pursue decorum, decency and professionalism.”

The communiqué reminded journalists of the danger involved in using violent language in reporting political activities.

It warned public-owned broadcasting stations to conduct their activities with utmost professionalism and give equal access to the various candidates and parties in election.

“Media owners and managers should exercise utmost restraint in their conduct and avoid using the media to pursue preconceived pecuniary political gains at the expense of national interest.

“Media professionals should be paid regularly and promptly and not subjected to undignified treatment that could encourage corruption.

“Journalists should not bend or twist the facts because in journalism, truth is sacred,” the communiqué said.

The theme of the workshop was: Impactful Election Reporting. (NAN)

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