World Radio Day: Stakeholders task journalists on credibility, objectivity during elections

By Funmilayo Adeyemi/Jessica Dogo
#TrackNigeria: As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the World Radio Day, stakeholders have called on journalists to uphold credibility and objectivity in their reportage during the forthcoming election.

The stakeholders made this call in Abuja on Wednesday at a workshop organised to commemorate the World Radio Day by UNESCO in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

The workshop has the theme: “Fair and Transparent Reporting: A Key to Sustainable Peace and Conflict Resolution.”

Mr Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, said the media has critical role to play in creating an enabling environment of peace in the country.

Echono was represented by Mrs Christiana Ogbeide, Director, Educational, Planning, Research and Development in the ministry.

He noted that the media had been seen as a two-edged sword, and therefore, expected to report in the positive light to avoid creating crisis, especially during the elections.

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“In this season of elections, it is expected that every reportage will be fair, just and transparent, without conflicts and in the interest of the nation.

“Radio transforms and radio unites people from all backgrounds. So, therefore, peaceful coexistence is a necessity for sustainable governance and meaningful development.

“The media has a critical role to play in creating an enabling environment in order to have a fair representation of the people and governance,” he said.

Echono, however, called on all radio stations and other media organisations to showcase the importance of media in the good light of the country.

Mr Gbemiga, Bamidele, the Assistant National Secretary, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), in a paper entitled: “Promoting Peace and Tolerance through Objective Reportage,” said it was important to make editorial judgment and present them in a way to illuminate the truth of a matter.

Bamidele explained that journalists must at all times promote peace and tolerance through ascertaining the credibility of a source to a story.

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“In promoting peace and tolerance, it is important for journalists to know that there is need to sift through facts, weigh them up and also make editorial judgment about their relative strength and importance.

“It is also important that they present them in a way that illuminates the truth of the matter.

“The process of making editorial judgment about facts is fundamental to great journalism. It also happens to be in the best tradition of objective journalism.”

Bamidele added that imbibing the professional ethical standards for journalists and embracing the orientation and perspective, objectivity and fairness would promote peace and tolerance.

In addition, Dr Chido Onumah, Acting Chair, Media and Information Literacy Coalition of Nigeria (MILCON) in a paper entitled: “Checkmating Fake News through Investigative Journalism,” urged journalists to desist from fake news.

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Onumah said fake news and hate speech must be addressed by media organisations to promote peaceful coexistence among the different groups in the country and as well strengthen the unity of the country.

Mr Sani Suleiman, Director News, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) charged media organisations to take advantage of their various medium to preach peaceful coexistence in the country.

Also, Mr Kehinde Ayotunde, Secretary General, National Commission for UNESCO, said it was important to raise awareness and douse tensions during the elections through collaborations with relevant stakeholders.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Radio Day is observed annually on Feb. 13 to celebrate radio as a medium.

The day marked the 8th edition of world Radio Day after being proclaimed on Nov.3, 2011 by the United Nations. (NAN)

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