Nigerian editors bemoan the attacks on media houses by insurgent groups.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, has asked Nigerian editors to define and promote national interest, in their daily reportage, in spite of the country’s security challenges.
Mr. Maku gave the advice on Thursday in Uyo in a goodwill message at the opening ceremony of the 8th All Nigeria Editors Conference organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE).
He lauded Nigerian journalists for always being at the forefront of nationalist movement and the fight for Nigeria’s unity.
“Under all periods, nobody had been able to cow the media; not even in the period of national emergency and military dictatorship,” he said.
He said that every editor as gatekeepers owed the nation a duty to protect its interest.
According to Mr. Maku, Nigeria might be facing security challenges, “but there are so many good things that are happening here that the editors should emphasize in the media.’’
The minister told the editors that though ‘Boko Haram’ is a major challenge, the greatest challenge is promoting the county’s unity.
“The development of millions of people is under threat; we can report it, not as a football match, but in a way that makes the nation feel a sense of confidence in the face of threat,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the NGE President, Gbenga Adefaye, noted that the country has regrettably attracted global attention because of insecurity, suicide bombings and sectarian violence.
In the address entitled “We are all victims”, Mr. Adefaye observed that the insurgents’ resort to the bombing of media houses and killing journalists was borne out of their wrong perception of the media.
“It is a mistake to attack and destroy the medium of dialogue, which they will need ultimately to resolve their grievances.
“There can never be justification for bombing media houses and killing journalists, no matter the grudges,” he stressed.
He said that the conference theme, `The Nigerian Editor and National Security’, was intended to help editors to understand and acquire the skills for conflicts reportage, as well as to also build confidence between the media, government, and the people.
Mr. Adefaye expressed gratitude to those who contributed to the successful hosting of the conference, especially Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom.
The Chairman of the occasion, Segun Osoba, commended the leadership of the guild for choosing a very apt theme bordering on national security.
Mr. Osoba, a veteran journalist and former Governor of Ogun, noted that journalists have always been among the first casualties in any conflict situation in the country.
He recalled that the first casualty during the country’s civil war was a journalist.
He also hailed the association for elevating issues of national importance to the level of intellectual discourse.