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Editors Begin Self-scrutiny Confab In Port Harcourt

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Editors Begin Self-scrutiny Confab In Port Harcourt
Editors Begin Self-scrutiny Confab In Port Harcourt

Top government officials, renowned scholars, leaders of ethnic nationalities, members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), traditional/religious leaders, members of the civil society groups and others will lead the conversation at the Nigerian Guild of Editors’ (NGE) Town Hall Meeting/Capacity Building Conference in the South-South geo-political zone on Tuesday (tomorrow) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

With the theme: ‘’Agenda Setting for Sustainable Democratic Culture’’, the main objective of the meeting/capacity building workshop, which is supported by the United States (US) Embassy in Nigeria, is to scrutinise the performance of the media in consolidating Nigeria’s democracy – citizens’ verdict and outlining media agenda for the future.

In a statement by its president, Mustapha Isah and the general secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, yesterday in Abuja, the professional body of all the editors in Nigeria, said the meeting would also provide an uncommon platform for the media’s stakeholders to remind editors and other senior media managers of the sacred duties they are expected to perform by the constitution on behalf of the citizens.

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The statement said that the NGE had similar meetings/workshops in five geo-political zones: South-West, North-Central, South-East, North-West and North-East, before now.

Drawing abundant examples from democracies around the world, the editors added that the meeting – like the previous meetings, is expected to instill in the editors the need to perform their duties – with the highest form of ethical standards and sense of responsibility.

Prof Benjamin Okaba, the dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Federal University Otuoke, who doubles as the president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), will deliver the lead paper at the Town Hall Meeting.

“The town hall meeting will provide an uncommon platform for media stakeholders to undertake self-introspection and also begin a conversation on a framework for media regulation, which will not only have their buy-in, but also improve the standard for media practice in Nigeria – thereby reducing, if not eliminate, incidents of sub-standard and unprofessional reportage in the Nigerian media.

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“Such conversations and hopefully eventual adoption of self-regulatory framework, could also have a regional spin-off whereby countries within the region, and indeed Africa, could be encouraged to borrow a leaf from the Nigerian example, as was the case with the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria subsequently having a positive spin-off in Ghana,’’ the NGE added.

The meeting will be followed by a two-day capacity building workshop for over 50 editors – selected from the print, television/radio stations and online newspapers.

On the expected impact of the meeting and the capacity building workshop, the NGE said that a pool of Nigerian editors and senior media managers would be galvanised and would be committed to the highest ethical standard and taking robust actions to ensure the same.

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Such editors and media managers will also be committed to the promotion and protection of the right to an independent press, freedom of expression and the deepening of democratic space.

The statement added, “The NGE is hopeful that at the end of the project, a pool of editors will be mobilised to constantly projecting issue-based governance for the benefit of the Nigerian people – in line with Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’’

The NGE explained that the programme is also expected to stimulate the key stakeholders to act responsibly and continue to deny overzealous security agents/authorities the moral ability to take punitive actions against the media for performing their constitutionally assigned role to hold the government to account.

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