BY Tennyson Sampson
THE President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, Eze Anaba, has said that a matter of concern to Nigerians today is the state of the country’s economy.
Delivering his welcome address at the 19th annual conference of the NGE, Anaba stated that the nation’s economy is in dire straits and noted that the new administration has continued to grapple with the situation while pushing out policies for a turnaround of the sector.
He reminded the federal government that the present economic environment is leaving millions of Nigerians in poverty and that a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, showed “damning revelations that some 133 million Nigerians are poor”.
Anaba suggested that “All hands must, therefore, be on deck in the task of reversing the disturbing trend and improving the economic situation and the well-being of millions of Nigerians living below the poverty line across the country.”
Recalling that the editors and the media generally have an important role to play in promoting citizens’ access to information, including on issues of the rule of law, governance, and economic development, he assured that an informed populace is the backbone of participatory democracy.
“Without access to information, this form of governance is not possible. Information creates the opportunity to discuss a range of available options and to take part in meaningful public policy discussions and informed political debate. Information allows the public to hold a government accountable by creating a public awareness of the government’s conduct,” he said, adding that “It is for this reason that the theme of this year’s annual conference is “Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement Role of the Media”, was chosen.
Speaking on the annual conference of the Guild, Anaba told the Special guests and more than 300 editors that the annual conference ”is the largest forum of editors in Nigeria, where we take on various important and topical issues, discuss them, and propose recommendations for the way forward”.
This exercise, according to him, is an essential part of the contributions of the NGE to the growth and development of not just the media industry but our beloved country in general.
“Indeed, Section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended] articulates the meaning and purpose of our profession and the role we are to play in the country.
“Section 22 provides that, The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.
“The annual conference of the Guild is a forum that attracts the brightest minds in different fields of human endeavour as Speakers, discussants and special guests, and which has, over the years, been a veritable tool, in setting agenda, and expanding the frontiers of the rule of law, human rights, good governance and development
“Today, we are gathered here for another packed, enriching, and no doubt enthralling conference that would see us discussing in the coming days challenges and issues of public interest that continue to confront our country,” he said.
He assured the guests that some economists, tech experts and technocrats from both within and outside the country will be examining the burning issues – including the role of the editors in their narrative and stemming the challenges.
He added that the conference would also examine the Nigerian media’s sustainability and “the existential threat by the li Tech and what we need to do in the face of the new reality”, while affording the participants the opportunity to discuss issues affecting the journalism profession and proffer solutions that hopefully will enhance its robust practice in the country.
The President of the Guild, who is also the editor of the Vanguard Newspapers, announced that this year’s conference would also witness the launch of the NGE Editors Trust Fund, which “is fulfilment of the promise I made during the campaign preceding the last biennial election of the Guild”.
According to him, the Trust Fund aims at empowering editors and other journalists through supporting and providing legal and general support to members.
Anaba urged members of the NGE to use the opportunity provided by the annual conference “to recommit ourselves to the ethics of the profession and to our constitutional roles. Let’s continue to be vigilant and close the gates of our platforms to fake news, misinformation, and disinformation”.
“Balanced, accurate, factual, and fair reports should remain the hallmark of our professional practice, even as we employ fact-checking tools, in disseminating our editorial products to the people. This is the only way we can effectively and efficiently discharge our constitutional duty under Section 22 of holding power to account and upholding human rights, the rule of law, good governance, and democratic principles to our political actors, always remember that a free press is like oxygen to a democracy. Let nothing be done to stifle the press or shrink freedom of expression and media freedom under any guise,” he added.
He commended the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, the Government and amiable people of the state for hosting and providing a beautiful environment for the 19th annual conference of the NGE and reminded the editors of the need to network and enjoy the hospitality of the people of Uyo,
November 15, 2023 @ 17:02 GMT|