……..Charges Politicians To Make Themselves Available For Media Engagement
BY GREAT MADUAWULECHUKWU
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council has warn her members against assisting politicians in whatever guise to promote division and rancorous atmosphere as 2023 general elections are close to call, just as the union called on politicians worth their salt to stop hiding under press releases rather should come out for proper engagement with media practitioners.
This is contained in a press release signed by Comrade Michael Ikeogwu and Comrade Patrick Ochei, Chairman and Secretary respectively, Nigeria Union of Journalists Delta State Council.
The release stated that it was disheartening to note that sensational journalism was taking the centre stage with the advent of social media; a situation that has made it difficult for society to differentiate who is a journalist from the myriad of citizen journalists or online tigers as the case may be.
“Suffice it to say that a journalist is a trained professional with requisite qualifications to practice his trade in an ethical manner that promotes peace, equity and justice in the society. That is why they are called the mirror and conscience of the society and based on this truism, the Nigerian Constitution gives backing and protection to the profession to hold government accountable while at the same time mounting surveillance on the society.”
On this note, practitioners must be bound by their conscience and professional ethics and codes of conduct while discharging their statutory functions as journalists.
NUJ Delta State Council frowned at recent issues bordering on endorsements of Governorship Aspirants scheming to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa where some section of the social media published different endorsed allegedly done by the Delta State Governor.
“While we are certain that those peddling the rumours that Governor Okowa has endorsed some candidate are not members of the union, we are using this medium to warn members not to engage in such unprofessional ways of making media predictions. We want to sound it clear that the consequences of indulging in a manner not reputed for journalistic tenets will be huge and unimaginable.”
“As we approach an election year, journalists must desist from publishing press releases from politicians hook, line and sinker without doing thorough checks and balancing. It is unethical to do copy and paste journalism or writing news stories from unverified sources.”
“The Council is therefore calling on politicians to go about with campaigns of issues rather than engaging in mudslinging, and thereafter start looking for journalists to engage to clean up their mess.”
“Any politician that is worth his or her salt should rather call for a press conference, coordinated by the NUJ instead of hiding under the guise of issuing press releases that have no substance.”
“We wish to sound it loud and clear that the union will not stand aside and watch politicians use their Facebook media aides to disparage our noble profession by pasting worthless press releases to score cheap points. We may be left with no other option but to blacklist such politicians who have engaged non-professional journalists to manage their media.”
The release assured that the union will help the government to sustain the atmosphere of peace and serenity in anticipation for the forthcoming elections in the State. “What we will not allow is a situation where politicians will create crisis and then blame it on the media.”