Participants at the 2019 Media Clinic on “Journalism in the Digital Age, Ethics and the Future of News”, have tasked media owners to live up to their responsibilities.
Organized by the Africa Media Development Foundation, AMDF, the participants attributed most of the unethical conduct of journalism practitioners to poor welfare from their employers.
They observed that a situation where media owners issued Identity Cards as meal tickets, license or adopt cheap labour by employing unqualified staff to go and practice, negate the objectives of the ethics.
The poor welfare has largely encouraged the collection of ‘brown envelopes’ which they said has become a norm thereby denting the image of the profession.
The participants therefore urged the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Newspaper Proprietors of Nigeria and Nigeria Union of Journalists to arrest the ugly trend to restore the image of the profession.
On the digital age, they agreed that it has positively revolutionalised the media practice which has come to stay and stressed the need for Journalists to embrace it though with some shortcomings on the ethics of the profession.
The Social Media, they said, has made the practice of journalism an all comers affair where stories are rushly published to ‘break the news’ without been verified or professionally written, a trend that could lead to publishing falsehood.
On how friendly is the environment for Nigerian women Journalists, the participants identified culture as one of the challenges they face in the practice of the profession in certain part of the country.
But, through awareness and enlightenment, they said, the impediment could fizzle out to enable them practice like their male counterparts and also increase their numerical strength in the profession.
In her opening remarks, the Programme Coordinator, AMDF Sekyen Dadik noted that “The advancement in technology has offered great opportunities for the media and the entire communication industry to open new vistas for the media becoming more influential in shaping public opinion.
More challenging, she noted, is the responsibility it places on professional journalists to maintain best practices, hence the need to examine the social and ethical consequences that come with the revolution.
She therefore enjoined the participants to examine their contributions towards uplifting the profession taking into cognisant the influx of people into the practice.
In a goodwill message, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists Kaduna State Council, Comrade Adamu Yusuf, who was represented by the Vice Chairman, Mohammed Sabiu acknowledged AMDF for its efforts at supporting journalists in Kaduna and bringing to fore issues that affect journalism practice.
He noted that the theme was apt considering the opportunities and ease of practice the internet has provided for journalists. He however lamented the situation where some journalists are not computer literate in spite of the digital revolution and therefore reiterated the Council’s commitment to partnering with AMDF towards advancing the cause of journalism in the state.
On his part, the Coordinator, League of Professional Online Journalists (LEPOJ) Alex Uangbaoje commended AMDF for its consistency in organizing the media Clinic thus providing an opportunity for journalists to learn and also discuss issues they face in carrying out their responsibility.
The meeting which featured a panel Discussion and an interactive session had 3 panel discussants looking at different issues.
The panelists were Reuben Buhari, Director General, Media and Publicity to Late Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State who spoke on “Digital Journalism and the Nigerian Journalists: How Far. How Well?, John Shiklam of This Day Newspapers, ” Ethics and Journalism Practice in Nigeria: Code of Ethics and the Battle for Professionalism, while Maryam Ahmadu Suka of the Daily Trust Newspapres spoke on ” Journalism and Gender: How Friendly is the Environment for Nigerian Women Journalists.
The Media Clinic is an annual event organized by AMDF, to bring together media practitioners, Media Executives and the Civil Society Organizations to brainstorm on ethical issues encountered by media practitioners in carrying out their responsibility and proffer solutions.