Media expert wants journalists to enhance professionalism, hold political leaders more accountable

3 years ago | 19

GBEMIGA Ogunleye, Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) Lagos, has called on media practitioners in the country to enhance professionalism by holding government more accountable to the people. Ogunleye made the call in Awka on Tuesday during the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) day two training for journalists drawn from South East and South-South Geopolitical zones. The provost said as professionals, it was expected that journalism of consequence must be practiced so as to restore people’s confidence in the media profession. “What we need today is to hold government accountable and the media is the only entity the constitution empowers to do the job. “The new media is as important as traditional journalism but we have to occupy the space to produce professionalism into it,” he said. He said that journalists should key into fact-checking which was to go beyond reporting news to adding a plus in its reportage to avoid misinformation or disinformation. Ogunleye explained that fact checking referred to the act of checking factual assertions in non-fictional text in order to determine the veracity and correctness of the statement. The NIJ provost said that it may be done either before or after the text had been published or disseminated all in a bid that assure that information given was  factual at all times . Ogunleye urged  social media users, especially professional journalists, to always research, investigate and evaluate whatever reports before them before disseminating same to avoid misinforming the public. He cited cases of former Minister, Kemi Adeosun; former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Mr Salisu Buhari and others, who were exposed by media while reminding the media of the enormous responsibility facing them . He said that Section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution, empowered journalists to monitor and hold government accountable through factual reportage as well as giving correct and verifiable information to the people. According to him, the dawn of social media and fake news pose greater challenges to traditional media but with investigative journalism and fact-checking, the society will still hold the media in high esteem more than the citizen journalism. Ogunleye noted that facts were sacred while comments were free urged journalists to use full, fact,, and in cross checking facts before disseminating. Mr Akintunde Babatunde, another facilitator and staff of PTCIJ said that the society depended on the media to make informed decisions as well as to expose corruption of all kinds. Babatunde said that journalists should be independent and accountable to the public adding that core element of journalism required that reports be deep rooted in verification, truthfulness and accuracy. Mr Mboho Eno, Programme Manager, PTCIJ said that the training would acquaint journalists with relevant knowledge and skills to become more exposed to criminal justice system and anti-corruption. Eno said that the training was packed with quality resource persons that would give quality skills in investigative journalism and fact checking in the criminal justice and anti- corruption sector. He said that the six-day training of select journalists on fact-checking in criminal justice and anti-corruption was sponsored by the European Union and British Council and advised the participants to pay key attention to the training. -NAN BE – May 22, 2019 @ 10:44 GMT |

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