By Victor Ahiuma-Young
MEDIA Practitioners and other stakeholders in the country will today converge in Lagos to discuss fresh measures and strategies for the improved welfare and professionalism in the Nigerian media.
International Press Centre, IPC, which announced this in a statement, said the round-table hosted by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, FES, had become imperative against the rising belief that the problem of non-compliance with the profession’s code of conduct and welfare conditions of journalists, which always tended to be poor, could not be addressed in isolation.
The statement by Stella Nwofia, on behalf of IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said: “The hostile working environment arising from increasing cases of assaults, kidnappings and killings, needs to be reviewed as it constitutes major threat to media independence, freedom of the press and journalists’ fundamental rights.”
He said these views had been “corroborated by the African Media Barometer, AMB, report on Nigeria by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, FES, which in Section 4.2 noted that despite the strong and commendable efforts to be accurate and fair, the constraints of ‘employer’s influence, dearth of resources, political and corporate interference as well as the lure of gratification tend to subvert the drive for accuracy and fairness.
“Section 4.6 of the AMB report also describes how self-censorship is prevalent in both state-owned and privately-owned media, principally because journalists fear such consequences such as loss of job, lack of promotion, official reprisals, physical attacks and libel cases.”
Mr. Arogundade explained that the one-day roundtable would garner stakeholders’ input into a proposed roadmap or Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, for raising the welfare and professional standards in the Nigerian media.
Expected participants include: leaders and officials Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ; Guild of Editors; Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN; Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON; Nigeria Press Council, NPC.
Other are media support groups, labour editors and reporters, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Productivity and the Ministry of Information and Communications.