Info Commissioner Charges Online Media Practitioners On Deepening Democracy

Barr (Mrs)  Rosemary Archibong, Cross River State Information Commissioner

By Kingsley Agim

The Commissioner for Information & Orientation, Barr. (Mrs.) RoseMary Effiom Archibong has charged the Association of Cross River Online Journalists to be assertive in their reportage and help in strengthening and deepening governance and, indeed, the democratic process.

The Information and Orientation boss, who was represented by her Ministry’s Director of Public Relations, Mr. Mike Nyajor gave the charge in a keynote address tagged “The Role of Online Media in Strengthening Government Conversation and Policy: The Cross River Perspective, during a one-day capacity building and training workshop for Online Journalists in the State, held at the Adsuit Hotels, Ikot Effa, Calabar.

Mrs. Archibong, who commended ACROJ for the workshop, stated that their above role, through investigative reporting will help to build peace and social consensus which would lead to societal stability, good governance and tremendous democratic dividends for the citizenry.

She further stressed that understanding the government’s policy thrust, vision and mission remain a critical background to good reportage by online and other media practitioners, pointing out that the Governor Ayade-led administration has a new policy thrust of enterprise development, agricultural mechanization, industrialization, robust tourism and human capital development, among others.

She advised the online and other media practitioners to be abreast with the policy thrust of the Governor Ayade’s administration and its various initiatives, so as to able to communicate knowledgeably for people to follow.

The Commissioner also decried the alarming rate in which some media practitioners escalate and fan the embers of discord through bias reporting, reinforcing prejudices, muddling facts and peddling half-truths, adding that such unethical practices injure the relationship between the government and the governed.

She adjured media practitioners to at all times uphold to the ethics of the journalism profession.

She admonished the online body to register as an affiliate of the umbrella Nigerian Union of Journalists, in order to gain credibility and recognition.

In a lecture on “Ethics in Online Journalism, the Chief Executive Officer of Hit FM, Mr. Patrick Ugbe outlined “truth and accuracy, independence, fairness and impartiality, humanity, and accountability” as ethical pillars of journalism.

Mr. Ugbe urged media practitioners to maintain ethics in their journalist practice and obey the rules and regulation guiding the profession.

In another presentation titled “Election and Crisis Reporting,” the Daily Editor of the Nigerian Chronicle, Mrs. Florence Oluohu articulated that during crisis reporting, journalists should resort to provide solutions with their reportage, instead of inciting the situation to an alarming proportion. “Avoid gory images, crisis negativity, and identifying with one side of the crisis,” Mrs. Oluohu added.

She concluded by pointing out that in reporting elections, journalists must avoid being partisan.

The ACROJ Capacity Building and Training Workshop was aimed at up-scaling online practitioners with contemporary journalistic skills and ethics.
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