“Journalists should carry out their duties in the spirit of patriots who have equal stakes in the peaceful development of the country.”
President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday urged Nigerian journalists to be factual in their news reporting and not to be sentimental in their judgment.
The President made this call at the Triennial Delegates Conference 2014 of the National Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, held at Badagry, Lagos State.
Mr. Jonathan, represented by Registrar of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Garuba Kakarfi, said “it is embarrassing when journalists dish out and celebrate statistics of casualties which turn out to be far from reality.
“Rather than retract and apologise for previous goofs, they carry on in subsequent editions with some other contradictory figures that leave their audience confused.
“Journalists should carry out their duties in the spirit of patriots who have equal stakes in the peaceful development of the country.
“They should be less adversarial and more supportive of the government in seeking and providing succor to our citizens and solutions to the challenges faced by the country.
“I believe the mass media should be a reference point for authentic information and not a speculation mill’’, he said.
Mr. Jonathan urged journalists to take renewed interest in the quality of their editorial outputs.
“There is a rising neglect of good English in many mass media organs.
“The function of sub-desk needs to be reinstated in media operations so that reports are subjected to editing before they are published.
“In an era of alleged falling standards of education, the mass media should not be seen to be compounding the situation by publishing poor grammar, wrong use of words and bad spellings’’, he said.
He praised the courage of women journalists in lifting the journalism profession in Nigeria despite the difficult circumstances.
Earlier, the National Publicity Secretary of All Progressives Congress, APC, Lai Mohammed, noted that nation building cannot be done without the participation of women.
He challenged women to take up more responsibilities in the affairs of the country.
“Journalists are the watchdogs of democracy; so women must be applauded for their commitment to change the country.
“Nation building cannot be done without the participation of women, so a nation must use all its resources which include women”, he emphasised.
Ajibade Peters, Director-General of Administrative Staff College if Nigeria, urged women to play their roles in nation building.
“NAWOJ plays a critical role in ensuring that Nigeria’s media has a strong and active female contingent’’, he said.
Garba Mohammed, the National President of Nigerian Union of Journalists, urged the government to always involve the media in its activities.
“The government should not wait till when it encounters problems before involving the media.
“We must work together to ensure that the nation moves forward”, he said.
Asabe Nahaya, the outgoing National President of NAWOJ, called on women journalists to unite in making the country a better place.