Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has urged the Nigerian Guild of Editors and other stakeholders in the journalism profession to make sacrifices that will save the profession from dying or being taken over by non-professionals.
Osinbajo gave the advice on Thursday while declaring open the 14th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference with the theme, “Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and the Nigerian Media.”
The conference is holding in Asaba, Delta State.
The Vice-President said journalists themselves were to blame for the decline in standards in the profession.
“Today, social media have taken over journalism; more people are now going for the said media in lieu of the mass media. Social media are springing up; I can say literally that hundreds of thousands of them are not trained journalists. Therefore, upon you is the burden of setting the acceptable role to make a very different thing indeed,” Osinbajo said.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the host at the event, commended the Nigerian media for standing by the side of people and giving them a voice.
Okowa identified editorial independence, fairness and objectivity as the three key things that must be preserved to prevent journalism from dying.
To this end, the governor advised the Guild of Editors and the Nigeria Union of Journalists to immediately draw up a code for their members that would serve as a guide for political activism on the social media.
Okowa expressed disappointment over the poor welfare package for journalists.
“A situation where a reporter is unsure of his next pay cheque does not augur well for the growth of the profession as it exposes them to undue influences from politicians,” he said.
The chairman on the occasion, Mr Sam Iredia, urged the media to set agenda for next year’s general elections.
In her welcome address, the President of Nigeria Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said the theme of the conference was thoughtfully chosen in view of the general elections next year.
She said, “We cannot afford to go about our business and leave politics to the politicians. A wrong choice next year will leave us with consequences that will last us years.”