Change agenda: Journalists brainstorm at media retreat

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

Media owners have been urged to give more priority to the welfare of staff to enable them discharge their duties effectively.

This was one of the resolutions reached by media practitioners at a retreat organized for Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Press Corps in Kaduna, North west, Nigeria.

Declaring the retreat open, the Minister of Nigerians Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Musa Bello noted that it was aimed at acquainting journalists with the internal workings  of the FCT Administration especially budgeting and procurement processes.

The minister described the training as a commitment by the FCT administration to partner with the media to key into the change mantra of the present government.

Bello, who was represented by the Director of Information and Communication in the Ministry, Mrs. Stella Ojeme, also urged the media to abide by the ethics of the profession, adding that the media has an enormous role to play in the present administration.

Speaking on the need for news balancing, the minister encouraged journalists to always carry out investigations on issues before publishing, noting that the society depends on the media messages for government policy and direction.

“According priority to investigative and patriotic reporting would guide policy makers and boost good governance”, the minister said.

“The challenge of responsible journalism had become most pressing in a new global order where the most media is required to be agent and catalyst of peace and development”.

The job of journalists is to assess different accounts and find a coherent, concise and objective account of an event”, he added.

The Minister suggested that the media should be objective, truthful in their reportage and also strike a balance between ethical journalism and limitations imposed by attachments to ownership, ethnicity, religious and political affiliation; and endeavor to stand for public good.

The Nigeria Union of Journalists, the Press Council of Nigeria and other regulatory bodies and media based NGOs should come up with formalized code of conduct for Nigerian journalists during periods of conflict”, Bello emphasized.

Strategic partners

Also speaking at the media retreat, one of the resource persons who presented paper titled “The media as a strategic partner in a change environment”, Mr. Emmanuel Onuoha, encouraged journalists to carry out investigative journalism.

He noted that journalists were professionals and critical stakeholders in the country, and should avoid sensational reporting that would trigger violence in the country.

Mr. Onuoha, enjoined the public to understand that no meaningful development could be achieved without peace.

At the end of the retreat, the participants unanimously recommended the following:“The media should ensure compliance, best practices and transparency in the procurement processes, that the media act as a bridge between the end-users of programmes and projects and government, that the media should act as whistle-blowers whenever the programmes and projects of government go wrong and that  operating in a change environment, the media and government must not be diametrically opposed but sincere collaborators in the task of nation-building,” the statement read.