The Publisher of Premium Times, Dapo Olorunyomi, has urged the media and maritime operators to interface in order to tap the potential of the sector for growth of the nation’s economy.
Mr Olorunyomi made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of a three-day training for maritime journalists on Data-Driven Journalism, held in Lagos on Thursday.
According to him, operators should know that whatever vision they have for the sector requires good journalism.
“The journalists need to provide the contents because without good maritime reporting there cannot be good port reforms.
Mr Olorunyomi, who is also the chief executive officer (CEO) of Premium Times Services Ltd., said that there was need for people to know what was going on in the maritime environment.
He noted that journalists were the intermediaries, who disseminate information to the public.
“The maritime sector is of most importance and greatest strategic value from both the economic and security perspectives and to that extent, the journalist deserves more attention than what they are getting in terms of volume of stories.
“Maritime sector is the third largest contributor to the Federation Account, so it really has its primary role that is not fully acknowledged by the operators and regulators.
“The managers of the sector themselves said that part of why the sector has a lot of problems has to do with the issues of corruption, overlapping roles of agencies, the need for innovation and new technologies to come onboard,” Mr Olorunyomi said.
He said that the training would enable maritime journalists to acquire more capacity to tell their stories through more investigative and data-driven story-telling strategies.
Mr Olorunyomi, however, said that the journalists should be able to generate far more contents about the sector.
In his own view, the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed, commended the reportage of the maritime journalists and urged them to improve on the job.
Mr Mojeed said maritime journalists should hold government officials in the sector accountable for their operations.
“Journalists need to understand the resources being budgeted for the sector; how procurements are done as well as how services are delivered; rather than just attending events and writing press releases.
“They need to deepen their reports so that the reportage they do can cause policy changes, enhance efficiency of the sector and basically make the maritime industry in Nigeria one that can compete with the best anywhere in the world.
“I want maritime journalists to be very familiar with the laws of the sector such as the Appropriation Act, Maritime Act and also to be familiar with the global best practices as regards the maritime industry.
“So that as they write about the maritime industry, they can write authoritatively and in a way that can bring impact to the sector,” Mr Mojeed said.
He, however, advised maritime reporters to comply with all the rules of journalism in the course of assisting policy makers to formulate their policies meaningfully. (NAN)