The Nigerian media have been called upon to take the government to task on transparency and accountability in governance.
The call was made at a media roundtable tagged tweet-a-thon on the media transparency watch project which held at the International Press Centre, Ogba, Lagos.
In his opening remark, Director of the International Press Centre, Mr. Lanre Arogundade enjoined journalists to take advantage of the event and improve on robust engagement.
According to Arogundade, “This third tweet-a-thon with hashtag #Media4T is an activity under a media transparency watch project being implemented by IPC with the funding support of the United States Consulate General in Lagos.”
Stating further, “The objective of the event is to promote media and public dialogue on the imperative of transparency, accountability and anti corruption for good governance in Nigeria and as well as enrich the content of media reports on transparency issues among others.”
In his speech at the event streamed live via tweeter, Facebook and other social media channels to allow for the participation of many interested individuals and groups outside the venue, Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, Program Assistant to Executive Secretary of Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, told participants that social media has effectively changed communication monopoly of the government as well as huge media corporation.”
Chukwu who represented Professor Bolaji Owasanoye at the event also said, “We have to use the laws available to us to engage the government, the Freedom of Information Act is available and SERAP has successfully used it.”
Also, at the event, Deputy Editor of the Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Eze Anaba bemoaned the economic situation of the nation which has also affected the media. According to him, most newspapers have dropped pages because they find it difficult to source for foreign exchange to procure newsprint.
“If you cannot meet your family obligation is it newspapers you will spend on? This is why the media has allowed itself to be dulled to semi consciousness and letting the government go with a lot of things. The challenge before the media is so huge to make government accountable.”
Chairperson of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lagos Chapter, Sekina Lawal at the event tasked the media to speak with one voice so as to be able to address issues in unity. “We are not sure we are speaking with the same voice at the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors etc., the media should be well taken care of that is when journalists can take issues up.”
She stated further that the media should endeavour to do unique stories because an average Nigerian could easily predict what to see next in the paper. The media is just for termed the fourth estate of the realm just for that sake, it is not an easy task to be the watchdog of the society,” she stated.
In another remark Jake Okechukwu Effoduh stated that the journalist should be up and doing and take up issues. Reeling out figures, he said “55 Nigerians stole N1.4tr within seven years and this can tar 640km of roads build 36 ultra modern hospitals, can sponsor 4,000 children from primary school to tertiary institution, 2,000 housing units,” he however enjoined journalists to continue being the watchdog of the society because the public paints journalists with same brush.