LAGOS – The newly appointed Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Sam Worlu, on Wednesday urged media professionals to use acceptable national values in pegging their daily reportage of national events.
Worlu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that information dissemination would only credible, balanced and truthful if it was driven by the peculiar Nigerian values.
“As a people, we have – there are Nigerian values, just as there are American values, as there are British values and it is in our interest as a people to put forward these values.
“The more we put them forward, I think the more the rest of the world can understand what it is that we are talking about.
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“Now, if people tell you that they can do value-free reporting, tell them that it is not correct; because people choose what they talk about.
“So, as a news organisation, you can choose what you want to talk about. If you play music, you can choose which music you want to play.
“Some radio stations play only rock, some like to play more reggae, now you ask yourself, what informs that decision?
“It’s a set of values; it’s what people think this is where we want to go,” he said.
According to Worlu, international media organisations contrary to other opinions, report global events from their perspectives and values.
“We have to be true to our values as a people but that does not mean that we have to compromise the critical factor of objectivity, fairness and balance in reporting communal and national events.
“We have to find a way to project Nigerian values in an objective and fair manner.
“This doesn’t mean that you over report one political viewpoint and under-report the other; no, you try to be balanced,” he said.
Worlu also appealed to media professionals to thoroughly study and understand the peculiar national values in their daily approach to information, education and entertainment of Nigerians and the international audience.
On the overall performance of the media, Worlu described the Nigeria media as very vibrant, very exciting and sometimes over exciting.
“The Nigerian media is one of our real treasures and we have to give credit to the government of the day.
“Over the last 15 years, there have been one or two skirmishes between the government and the media; but the media in Nigeria have been largely free.
“But that also in my view, imposes a great obligation on the media to censor itself’’ Worlu added.
He appealed to the media to apply a lot of restraint, stressing that the publication of numerous gory images debased the national ethos.
“When you say self-censorship, it doesn’t mean don’t speak ill of the government; but to speak in such a way that you want to preserve the institution.
“You may not like any particular occupant of a position; you may not like me as the Director General of VON, but you don’t want to say a thing that does long term damage to VON.
“You may not like who is the governor of any state but you do not say things that will damage the institution of the office of the governor,” he said.
Worlu also said that VON new focus would be driven by a better understanding of the audience.
He said the overhaul of the organisation would be to refocus it toward news, current affairs and general programming for an effective and sustainable way of telling the Nigerian story to the world.
NAN reports that Worlu before his appointment had a 24-year career in the nation’s diplomatic service. (NAN)