4 May 2018 0 Comments

World Press Freedom Day: Nigerians celebrate

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Yesterday was World Press Freedom day. It is day for speeches and accolades . Why we might have made a little progress, many developing countries are still far from reaching the goal post. The theme of 2018 ?captured my mind on the issues journalists still face: ?Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law. In Nigeria, there were pockets of activities to mark the day with the President asking for fairness in news coverage. In the sub regional level United Nations Scientific ?and Cultural Organisation held an event in Ghana to mark the day.

The media has a role to play in sustaining a great democracy. Unfortunately poverty across board has not helped. The dwindling fortune of print is affecting ability of the media houses to pay decent wages for men and women in the pen profession. Many of our colleagues are found wanting in maintaining their integrity, ?neutrality as well as objectivity. We sometimes compromise, take side with the with power that be because of the benefits. There are exceptions to this, but the majority involved in this are soiling the clothes of others.

If media must keep power in check, it must comes to the table with a clean hand. Media must be seen as fighting the just cause, standing for what is right, championing conversation with a balanced viewed. Media must stand for justice and protect the hapless majority against the minority whose aim is to lock the populace in their pockets.

In many instances, ?government officials go overboard. They deny the populace what is right and many of them do want go cut corners. Demanding accountability is a necessary duty. But where the media is not accountable, reckless in news coverage or where it is very active in the ?promotion ?of ?unnecessary sensationalism without regards for facts, it may ?strengthen the dilemma of ‘fake news’.

Keeping Power in Check will therefore require:

Knowing what is right: Any media person who is not up to date on the constitutional rights of individuals and government may do more damage in his/her reportage. Continous learning, re learning ?and personal ?improvement Is a demand of the trade.

Fact checking and information pipeline: we are in the age of fake news. No lazy professional can operate successfully in this age. Accuracy of facts, data and news presentation must not be in doubt. In our bid to break the news today, media people are spilling half truths. That is not promoting justice.

Maintaining justice: justice demands accountability, fairness and integrity of purpose. If the media cannot maintain these, it has no moral standing to champion what it does not believe in. Editors need to do their jobs here. Eyes for what is the real news is gradually becoming a scarce commodity.

Telling the truth as it is: Of course what is journalism if truth is given different shades of colour. Many had argued what is truth is debatable. ?They claim what is truth in this society may not hold whatever in others. They further say, truth is what a society says it is. But there are basic principles and underlying issues which guide truth. When these are missing, whatever we say becomes doubtful.

In post celebration date, our organisation, Africa Foundation For Young Media Professionals, will be organizing a panel discussion on some of the fundamental principles around this theme as we missed that opportunity due to unforseen circumstances.


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