Journalists advised on need to abide by laws and ethics of profession

A journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mrs Bushrah Yusuf-Badmus, on Wednesday in Ilorin advised media practitioners to ensure they adhere with the laws and ethics of journalism.

Yusuf-Badmus, a Kwara-based reporter, made the call in her paper presentation at the one-day Media Personnel’s Advocacy Roundtable organised by Albarika FM, a radio station based in Ilorin.

NAN reports that the programme was organised in collaboration with the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and McArthur Foundation on Enhancing Media Action for Good Governance and Accountability.

Speaking on the topic “Media Law and Ethics — Concept Principles and Practices”, Yusuf-Badmus noted that Media Ethics deals with the principles and standard of media channels which promote and defend values.

She described these values to include universal respect for life and the rule of law and legality, ethical questions about how media should use texts and pictures.

Yusuf-Badmus added that journalism as a profession entails a high degree of public trust.

“To earn and maintain this trust, it is morally imperative for every journalist and every news medium to observe the highest professional and ethical standards.

“A journalist should always have a healthy regard for the public interest.

“Truth is the cornerstone of journalism and every journalist should strive diligently to ascertain the truth of every event,” she said.

The resource person explained that Nigerian journalists must strive to uphold these Code of Ethics, and observe their provisions.

She also highlighted the media ethics which include editorial independence, accuracy and fairness, privacy, protecting public health, morality and safety.

“Others are preventing the public from being misled by some statements or actions of the individual concerned, privilege/non-disclosure, decency, discrimination reward and gratification, among others.”

Yusuf-Badmus added that a journalist should refrain from publishing inaccurate and misleading information.

“Where such information has been inadvertently published, prompt correction should be made. A journalist must hold the right of reply as a cardinal rule of practice.

“In the course of his duties, a journalist should strive to separate facts from conjecture and comment,” she said.

Yusuf-Badmus warned journalists against reports which perpetuate acts of violence, armed robberies, terrorist activities or vulgar display of wealth in a manner that glorifies such acts in the eyes of the public.

“A journalist should not identify, either by name or picture, or interview children under the age of 16 who are involved in cases concerning sexual offences, crimes and rituals or witchcraft, either as victims, witnesses or defendants,” she added.

Yusuf-Badmus also highlighted that bodies and laws regulating the media in Nigeria include the Nigerian Press Council Act, Law of Contempt, Law of Sedition, Law of Defamation and Law of Privacy.

She observed that sedition is a crime against the state, which may have the ultimate effect as treason.

“It is generally limited to the offence of organising or encouraging opposition to government in a manner (such as in speech or writing) that falls short of the more dangerous offences constituting treason.

“Sedition does not only cover a person’s actions but also any words or writings in print that may incite, encourage or promote the overthrowing of a government,” the resource person said.

She however observed that good governance is an indispensable requirement for social, economic and political developments.

‘The media therefore is a critical link in the accountability chain between the government and the people.”

Yusuf-Badmus also explained what was needed for the media to contribute effectively in enthroning good governance.

”It must as a matter of responsibility apply the basic principles of patriotism, accountability, transparency and objectivity in the discharge of its duties.”

Also speaking, Mrs Zainanb Oyiza, a media personnel from the News Verifier, a media outfit, emphasised the importance of news verification by journalists in this age of social media.

She listed some fact-checking tools which media practitioners could use to verify images and others.(NAN)


November 16, 2023 @ 7:30 GMT|