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World Press Freedom Day: Experts discuss challenges, solutions to journalism practice in Nigeria

IPI President, Musikilu Mojeed delivering his welcome address at the world press freedom day commemoration in Abuja

Top media experts in Nigeria converged on Friday to discuss the challenges journalists face while carrying out their duties in Nigeria and also proffered possible solutions to them.

The event was held in commemoration of the 2022 World Press Freedom Day with the theme, “What journalists need to do to keep safe, retain credibility and be sustainable”.

It was organised by the International Press Institute (IPI) in collaboration with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Among media personalities that attended the event are a former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA); the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu; representative of the Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and representative of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.


In his opening remark, President of IPI Nigeria, Musikilu Mojeed, said the aim of the event was to enhance independent journalism and the operating environment for journalists and media organisations in Nigeria.

He stated that the IPI and its members are totally committed to credible and independent journalism, media freedom, freedom of speech and the free flow of news and information.

“We will always stand firm and resist any measure or action that threatens these matters and principles for which we stand,” he said.

Mr Mojeed lamented that journalists were often intimidated and harassed while carrying out their constitutional duty, adding that the IPI had launched a ‘Black Book’ which will be used to document individuals whose actions threaten press freedom.

“The records so gathered will be regularly updated and shared periodically with embassies, and all relevant international and human rights groups across the world. We will use the records to ensure named individuals are held accountable one way or another,” he added.

Prof Tonnie Iredia delivering his keynote address at the world press freedom day commemoration in Abuja
Prof Tonnie Iredia delivering his keynote address at the world press freedom day commemoration in Abuja

‘Sustainable professional excellence’

Also speaking at the event, Mr Iredia, a professor of mass communications at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, drew the attention of journalists on the need for them to work towards the attainment of sustained professional excellence in their duties and general disposition.

The former NTA DG, who was the guest speaker at the event, also said credibility can best be attained by a profession which develops its members to embrace best practices and global realities in their operations.

The guest speaker urged the media to communicate effectively to be understood by the public in order to avert attacks on journalists. According to him, inaccuracy leads to attacks on journalists.

“We must ask ourselves if our report is always accurate because accuracy is important.

“If you carry a story that is not true about someone, he has the moral right to attack.

“Make efforts to be unbiased and give equal treatments to all stories because people think being in the media means that you can destroy a person’s character,” he said.

World Press Freedom Day (WPFD)
World Press Freedom Day (WPFD)

The veteran journalist emphasized on training and retraining of journalist on a regular basis.

“There must be qualification that enables you to be a journalist.

“In many professions, you cannot move from one grade to another if you have not been trained.

“In today’s media, so many people are on TV without passing through audition,” he added.

One of the challenges he highlighted include the lack of legal constitutional backing which he said

Nigerian constitution does not specifically give power to the press.

Others, he noted are operation in obsolete facility, sycophancy and divided loyalty and concentration.Advertisements

Some of the panelists who spoke at the event include Sani Zorro, a former President of NUJ and aide to First Lady, Aisha Buhari; Muyiwa Adejobi, the spokesperson of the Nigeria Police and Ladi Bala, President of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).( Premium Times)