Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER) has tasked the media on fairness and objectivity, noting that this will promote development agenda in the nation.
This was the opinion at a one-day training programme held in Lagos yesterday. Tagged: ‘Reporting Diversity in Nigeria,’ the training was organized by the International Institute for Education (IEE) and facilitated by the Ford Foundation, West Africa.
The Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye, explained that with 350 ethnic nationalities in the country, the media has the responsibility to be fair to all interests.
While lamenting the challenges that reporters face in giving concise reportage Adeoye said it might be difficult but it’s not an impossible task.
As part of the challenges, the executive director identified media ownership control, saying that public owned media institutions in Nigeria are being run as if they are the extension of the private fiefdom of political leaders and their families.
He said: “Public radio and TV stations are at the mercy of the political leaders who determine and often manipulate what should be used and what should not be aired or reported.
“As journalists, how do we locate these challenges within the context of truth, integrity and objectivity and the overall interest of the toiling people?
“How do we as journalists give hope to an increasingly famished people? How doe we reflect the many sidedness of matter? As human beings whose identities are submerged in the narrative cobweb, how do we raise our heads above the murky conflict of contending interests?
“We do not need to remember ourselves that the media is critical to the overall end of politics and economy, which is the happiness of mankind. Will the media be on the side of the people or on the side of those in power alone? Can we set new agenda for Nigeria, an agenda that will represent the aggregate interests of the contending parties.”
While emphasizing the role media plays in the society, Adeoye said, “the media can shape, make or mar the future of any society. The visible role of the media is shaping public opinion is further propelled by the emergence of citizen journalism, creating a new stream of information flow and a new population of users of public information.”
He noted that constructive engagement of diversity issues presupposes that media practitioners are expected to sharpen their skill for effective coverage of divergent interests, social, cultural and economic classes.
Adeoye, however, called for a paradigm shift to re-define the media within the prism of public interest to make impact in the newsroom and mass communication classrooms.