A former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, has tasked media practitioners in the country to be objective and always consider the national interest in their reportage.
He gave the advice in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital at the 2016 World Television Day celebration, organised by the Broadcast Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN).
The former governor said journalists, whether in the broadcast or the print media must hold the truth, objectivity and national interest as hallmarks of their reportage, as the watchdogs of the society.
He said, “Whatever you are doing as a journalist, you must allow objectivity, truth and national interest to always prevail as the watchdogs of the country.”
Osoba, who was represented by a former member of House of Representatives, Adekunle Adeyemi, at the event said that as a journalist himself, he would continue to associate with good causes by media practitioners.
The guest speaker at the event, the Head TVC News Nigeria, Mr. Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, who considered television as a powerful medium, lamented that news reportage in many privately-owned stations in the country has been commercialized, in order for the owners to make profit.
Kolade-Otitoju who spoke on “Media Commercialization and Objectivity in Television News and Programmes in Nigeria” insisted that overwhelming influence of such media proprietors on news managers had made it difficult for them to be in tune with the code of ethics of the National Broadcasting Commission.
He said: “It is quite painful that in many privately-owned television houses, news is a commercialised product, because the owners of the television stations want to make profit.
“They fail to follow the rule of the National Broadcasting Commission on the requirement that a differentiation be made between news and commercials.
“Television stations now present those commercials as news.”
Kolade-Otitoju also noted that it was due to the crave for survival that has made many television stations to engage in “strategic mutual partnerships” with state governments, which he said, involved only reportage of positive stories about them.
He, however, advised the media practitioners not to lose focus on their responsibility to the society, as watchdogs.
The Coordinator, Mass Communication Department, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Dr. Yemi Obalanlege, who spoke on the theme: “Digital Switch Over and The Future of Television News in Nigeria,” urged Nigeria to ensure it meets the digital switch over deadline in broadcasting to avoid being a dumping ground for other foreign countries.
The Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dayo Adeneye, also appealed to the media to always put professionalism and patriotism into consideration in their reportage.
The State Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, who considered the media as strategic partners in nation building, urged practitioners to always put the peace and tranquility of the country into consideration in their reportage.
The President of BJAN, Kazeem Olowe, assured that the broadcast journalists would continue to be people’s advocate and promoter of truth, fairness, justice and equality.
He said, “We will continue to write credible reports, serve as watchdogs in the society and remain committed to promotion of professional standard.”