Nigeria set to host world press congress, Iredia urges media return to agenda-setting role

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Former Director General of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Dr. Tonnie Iredia, has called on the Nigerian media to return to its agenda-setting role of being the watchdog of the society, by shunning all political agenda. He also charged the media not to be the megaphone of politicians who merely mouth platitudes and sidelining genuine development of the country.

Iredia said this yesterday when he led the media and publicity committee of the International Press Institute (IPI) congress to the Rutam House,the corporate headquarters of The Guardian, in Lagos to sensitise the media on the upcoming world congress and give it the desired publicity.

The former DG said Nigeria would host IPI World Congress for the first time on June 22 in Abuja, noting that it is the most significant media event of the decade, and as such, the media should tap into the opportunity it would offer Nigeria to project herself to the international community in a very positive way.

“We consider this event very important, because of the subsisting perception of Nigeria in the international community. We are all victims of the image deficit that the nation has.”He lamented the situation where Nigerian journalists have continued to grumble and question foreign media, which project Nigeria in bad light, noting, “the narrative should change, by us blowing our trumpets a little bit in order to project us in the correct perspective. This is also a wake up call for the Nigeria media to return to the old order of being in charge of agenda-setting rather than leave it to politicians.”

Iredia pointed out that Nigeria stands to gain from the congress, as about 300 foreign delegates and four head of states would be participating, providing them the opportunity to witness Nigeria physically, and report what they have seen rather than negativity.

He urged the Nigerian media to use the opportunity of the conference to change the narratives, adding, “It is our duty to offer the positives. My contention has always been that Nigeria is the leading nation in the world in terms of neighbourliness, and there lies our strength.’’He stressed that the media must prepare Nigerians ahead of the event, to showcase the positives within the country: “We need to showcase our development projects to these foreign media.”

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The Institute for Media and Society is an independent, non-governmental organization based in Nigeria. The institute was established in April 2000. In establishing the organization, we considered and were convinced of such issues as: the inter-relationship between the well-being of a society and its media as well as between the state of the media and the responsiveness and growth of societal institutions. the institutionalization of democracy and development in Nigeria being nourished by a free and pluralistic media structure, culture and environment.

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