Nigeria’s Consul-General in US. CPJ at GOCOP virtual AGM

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Ben Okoyen

Ben Okoyen, consul-general of  Nigeria in New York, has urged  journalists in the country, especially online publishers, to be citizen-centred as they continue to serve as watchdogs for the good of the country.

Okoyen also advised them to remain as independent monitors of those in power.

He made this known on Thursday, October 16, when he delivered his goodwill message to the virtual annual general meeting of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP.

According to the consul-general, in order to carry out such duties it was important for journalists to continue to be reliable, focus and loyal to the citizen.

Okoyen said those in power also rely on reports by the media, therefore journalists must portray the truth always, urging media practitioners to always verify their reports and avoid one-sided stories.

Earlier, Jonathan Rozen of the Committee to Protect Journalists, noted that the Nigerian media has been incredibly dynamic and daring in doing vibrant journalism despite ongoing threat to online journalism, which is consistent with the crackdown on the mainstream media.

Rozen identified the Cyber Crime Act, among others, being used to target the media.

According to him, some journalists and online publishers have fallen victim of official  harassment over the years in Nigeria.

He suggested that going forward, there was the need for broad international solidarity to champion the cause of freedom for journalists.

Addressing the GOCOP’s virtual AGM, Ramon Nasir, head of Communications, United Bank for Africa Plc, said the fact that the Guild has chosen to hold the meeting despite the odds arising from the COVID-19 pandemic was evidence of the seriousness of the group.

Ramon commended the professionalism of GOCOP members, saying they have held on to the ethics of the profession by ensuring balanced reports.

The presence of CPJ and other guests was an indication that the association was willing to brighten the future of its members, he said.

Dotun Oladipo, GOCOP President, noted that this year’s AGM was unusual because of the times we live in.

Oladipo said it was the COVID-19 pandemic that made it impossible for the Guild to hold its usual two-day AGM.

Fortunately, the GOCOP President said, none of the Guild’s members was lost to the pandemic.

After the opening session, the AGM proper was held virtually and issues relevant to the association and ways to sustain their businesses were discussed. The next annual general meeting will hold in October 2021.

– Oct. 16 2020 @ 15:35 GMT |

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