NPC Holds Workshop on Ethical Journalism

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…calls for journalists’ compliance with code of ethics

The Nigerian Press Council (NPC) in conjunction with Lamfortte Resources Limited on Tuesday, December 31, 2019, concluded a 2-day intensive Workshop on ethical journalism as an indispensable tool for media integrity.

The event which held in Asaba, the Delta State capital, had delegates from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Rivers and Edo States.

It also saw the presence of Mr. Victor Egharevba, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Press Council; Mr. Ikeogwu Michael, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Delta State and Mrs. Stella Jibrin, Director of Research and Documentation, Nigerian Press Council.

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Welcoming participants, Mr. Victor Egharevba who was represented by Mrs. Stella Jibrin, enumerated the imperatives of the workshop as a capacity intervention.

Participants at the keynote presentations

He noted that the Workshop was aimed at sensitizing the participants on the need for compliance to ethics, adding that media practitioners have to be guided by norms when transmitting information.

A communique issued at the end of the event commended the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) for the initiative to put up the training and details that journalists should be guided by the ethics of their profession in the discharge of their duties.

It further states that media professionals should abide by the codes of ethics of fairness, balance and accuracy; as well as ensure that voices and views are represented in their reports.

Furthermore, participants at the Workshop advocated that journalists should be well remunerated to avoid reneging on their integrity and to encourage investigative journalism.

The communique also has it that media literacy should be encouraged to help the public consume media contents responsibly and enable the public distinguish between facts and false information.

In view of the current wave of online journalism, the Workshop urged the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) to build the capacity of journalists on the use of digital devices and online engagements.

It also advised journalists to engage the digital media in ‘pre-bunking’ information rather than debunking, since much of fake news originates from there, arguing father that media professionals should establish and dominate the new media space to be able to break the news before the fake news pushers.

According to the communique, journalists reporting conflicts should ensure precision, compare trends, avoid instigating opponents, refrain from name-calling and stay factual.

It equally calls on investigative journalists to be security conscious and rather tell the story than being the story.

The communique also posits that government should strengthen media regulatory legal framework to encourage responsible journalism and antitrust laws to discourage media oligopoly, adding that entrance into journalism profession should be made stricter by way of licensing as it is with other professions to scare away infiltrates and quacks.

As a matter of urgency, the Workshop judged that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Guild of Editors, the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should meet as a matter of united interest to harmonise their differences and ensure a common ground for the entrance into the profession, code of ethics and regulation of journalistic activities.

It maintained that Nigerian Press Council (NPC) remains the apex regulatory body of the print media, while the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) remains the only recognized body of the NUJ mandated to train would-be journalists at post-graduate or entrance level.

Finally, the communique documents that stakeholders such as the NBC, NPC and the NUJ should come together to review the journalism code of ethics to reflect the reality of contemporary times, with adequate mechanisms for enforcement of sanctions.

Papers were presented on “Code of Ethics: A Tool for Responsible and Objective Reporting”, “Fake News Versus Media Integrity: The Role of Gatekeepers”, “Political Violence, National Security and the Nigerian Media: Need for Synergy” and Professionalism and Nigerian Media: A Professional Self-Assessment” by Dr. Emmanuel Akpoveta of the Department of Mass Communication, Delta State University; Dr. Greg Ugbo of the Department of Mass Communication, Ekiti Federal University; Dr. Ibe Onoja of the same department and institution and Mr. Gbemiga Bamidele, Deputy National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, respectively.

The Workshop featured interactive sessions and presentation of certificates to the participants.