–As Nigeria Drops In World Press Freedom Ranking
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, over the weekend urged the media see the need to always adhere to the code of ethics to preserve the sanctity of the profession.
They both spoke at the 2019 Biennial Convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) held at the Airport Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, an event that was well attended by members of the Guild from across the country.
This is coming at a time the latest report of the Reporters Without Borders revealed that Nigeria dropped one step in its ranking of Global Press Freedom Index for 2019, describing the situation for the Media in Nigeria as a “climate of permanent violence.”
Nigeria dropped to 120 from 119 the previous year out of the 180 countries assessed. The nation also scored a -0.91 points, behind certain African countries including Namibia which ranks 25 in world press freedom with 18.95 points.
In his goodwill message, Governor Ambode said the media must continue to up the ante in its primary responsibility as the watchdog of the society.
Noting that the theme of the convention, ‘Media Convergence As Strategy For Survival’ was very apt, he said the State Government has drawn ideas and policy formation as well as execution from the criticisms and suggestions from the media.
“We have learnt from your informed commentaries, reflecting deep concern about the need for solutions to problems that all of us worry about uninterrupted electricity, efficient transportation, affordable housing and the ease of doing business.
“What we have witnessed in Lagos state in the past four years and particularly the commissioning of transformational projects in recent times bear testimony to the fact that your criticisms and suggestions towards a livable megacity have contributed to our policy formulation and execution,” he said.
In his keynote address, Professor Osinbajo urged media practitioners to be open to the reality that the new and digital media was gradually taking over the traditional media.
The Vice President, however, said the greater worry was the fact that the new media had been saturated with several mushroom platforms, which do not regard the ethics of the profession in disseminating information.
“Editors must now take over the online media as seriously as they did to the traditional media and that move has to be unprecedented. What we see today is that instant reporting is making a mince meat of the virtues of cross checking facts before publishing.
“Since the role of editors is quality control and gate keeping, of the things they must do is to manage the new media and place some form of control. Some people must take the lead to speak up against the bastardization of the new media as it is gradually relegating investigative journalism,” Osinbajo said.