Experts Urge Journalists to Uphold Legal, Ethical Standards

By Tunde Akanbi, Ilorin

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In the digital age, professional communicators, spokespersons, and journalists in Nigeria have been advised to adhere strictly to legal and ethical standards in their practice. This call to action emphasises the importance of responsible communication and journalism in promoting a well-informed and cohesive society.

A Communication Expert and  Chief Promoter, Gerin FM, a Community radio station based in Ilorin,  Kwara State, Mr. Mahmud Abdulraheem, advised at an empowerment Programme,organised by the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria, ACSPN, held at Thomas Adewunmi University, Oko in Kwara state, North Central Nigeria.

Mr. Abdulraheem, who was the Guest Speaker at the event, maintained that Journalists, as watchdogs of society, should sustain ethical standards by disseminating facts, and verified stories from authorized sources and ensuring that the public is fed with credible news and information.

The Communication expert, who was one of the trainees at the empowerment Programme, enjoined participants to be well guided by the law of defamation, cyberbullying, sedition and contempt of court, when writing reports and information meant for dissemination in the public space, especially on the traditional and social media platforms.

Mr. Abdulraheem, who is also a legal practitioner, observed that Social media, has to a large extent, fractured ethical principles of journalism, in a way that anybody with an Android phone navigates social media with fake news and libelous materials.

Mr. Abdulraheem, a one-time General Manager, of Kwara State Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Kwara and the state Television Service, charged government spokespersons, professional communicators, Journalists and students of mass communication, to always uphold journalism principles and unblemished professional conduct in the digital age.

In his address, the Vice Chancellor, of Thomas Adewunmi University, Professor Francisca Oladipo, thanked the President and members of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria for holding the empowerment series at the University.

He described it as a great privilege.

Also Speaking, the Dean, of the Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin, Professor Adesina Lukman Azeez, emphasized the need for communicators to deal with issues as they are and never to take sides when crafting stories.

Professor Azeez, who represented the national president, of ACSPN, added that some journalists and government spokespersons are sometimes tempted to jettison professional conduct by joining issues and compromising standards.

At the end of the lecture, the Vice Chancellor, Professor Oladipo supported by Principal officers of the university conducted the guest speaker, Mr. Abdulraheem and other guests around the University’s facilities, including the 133KVA Solar System and engineering site where different machines and classrooms equipments are being fabricated, as well as the Radio and Television studios, preparatory to the setting up of a Radio station for the university.

The event was attended by Principal Officers of Thomas Adewunmi University, Students of the Department of Mass Communication Thomas Adewunmi University, members of ACSPN, and students of the Department of Mass Communication from other universities including the University of Ilorin.

One of the facilitators and former head of the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Ilorin, Professor Adesina Azeez, dwelt on the need for communicators to deal with issues as they are, never to take sides when crafting stories and information meant for dissemination via the mass media, noting that some Journalists and government spokespersons are sometimes tempted to jettison professional conduct by joining issues and compromising standards.

Vice Chancellor of Thomas Adewumi University, Prof Francisca Oladipo, thanked the President and members of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria, ACSPN, for holding the empowerment series at the University, describing it as a great privilege.

Speaking to newsmen after the capacity building and empowerment series at Thomas Adewumi University, the Chief Executive Officer of Delta State Orientation and Communication Bureau, Mr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe said Delta State is the only state in Nigeria that had in the past five years organised capacity building workshop for government spokespersons, social media influencers, and bloggers and media partners.

He assured that the extensive knowledge acquired from the ACSPN capacity building and empowerment series shall be shared with participants at the forthcoming Delcom workshop in Asaba, saying that the state Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, is investing heavily in socioeconomic, solid infrastructure and human capacity development.

He said the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Michael Ifeanyi Osuoza recently disclosed that the governor has constituted a powerful committee to look into the challenges faced by the management of Delta Broadcasting Service, Asaba and Warri stations, as well as the Pointer Newspaper, to upgrade their facilities, embark on fullscale rehabilitation process to enable the state-owned media organisations to compete favourably with their private counterparts in the industry.

“In Delta State, we are in good standing, especially in the area of capacity building programmes. 

 “Delta is the only state in Nigeria that organises an annual capacity building programme for government media appointees, media partners and social media influencers under the office of the Executive Assistant on Communications to the Governor. The 5th edition shall be held soon in Asaba.

 “I am looking forward to seeing Professor Adesina Azeez of the University of Ilorin, and other top-class academicians and ACSPN members in Asaba for the 5th edition of DELCOM,” Oghenesivbe assured.

The ACSPN capacity building and empowerment series was well attended by professors of mass Communication and Journalism from Universities and Polytechnics across Nigeria, as well as Government Spokespersons and communication professionals from public and private sectors.

 

Dominica Nwabufo

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