Uphold ethics, shun blackmail, group urges young Nigerian journalists

Winner, photojournalist category, Adejumo Kabir
Winner, photojournalist category, Adejumo Kabir

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has advised young Nigerian journalists to desist from unethical practice, uphold ethics and shun blackmail in any form.

The executive director, CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, gave the advice on Saturday in Abuja at the second edition of Campus Journalism Awards 2019 organised by Youth Digest magazine in partnership with CISLAC and supported by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Mr Rafsanjani warned the journalists to avoid spreading fake news on their social media handles and be socially responsible to influence growth in the society.

”Journalism is not activism, therefore journalists should contribute to nation building. Journalists must be able to hold public officials accountable,” he said.

According to him, journalism is not a means of accumulating wealth, saying this is one thing young journalists have to understand.

”Journalism is an act of giving voice to the voiceless and service to humanity, ” he said.

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Speaking at the event, the publisher of Premium Times newspaper, Dapo Olorunyomi, said the quality of works of the awardees gives significant hope for the future of journalism in Nigeria.

Mr Olorunyomi said awards have been bastardised in Nigeria, but the qualities of the judges gave a lot of confidence that it was a serious-minded engagement.

”When we see young people in this kind of preference, it is a great thing to reward them to inspire them. We have to salute those who have put this together,” he said.

The editor of Youth Digest Magazine, Gidado Shuaib, urged journalists to stand firm against unethical practices that may jeopardise the future of the profession.

”We now face a dearth in our ethics and the ripples of this is being felt all over the country. Information sharing is being challenged by the menace of hate speech, fake news, brown envelope syndrome as well as other issues,” he said.

Speaking with Premium Times, the awardees said the award will spur them to be more professional and ethically conscious.

The winner, Campus Journalist Awards 2019, a student of Modern European Languages and Linguistics of Usman Danfodiyo University, Maryam Abdullahi, said practicing journalism for her has been amazing although time-consuming.

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”It’s not easy to join journalism practice with schooling, but I achieved this with the assistance of great minds around me,” she said.

Ms Abdullahi who also won the Gender Equality category said funding and time are major constraints of campus journalists.

Also, the winner of the photojournalism category, a student of the department of English language, Obafemi Awolowo University, Adejumo Kabir, said it is a good thing for student journalists to expose the irregularities in the society.

”It is also important to admonish campus journalists not to be too hungry for fame. When one is doing the right thing, you will be remembered in your grave. I have never done any story for award sake or money sake. It has always been for the interest of the masses,” he said.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Investigative journalism category, Olufemi Alfred, a student of the department of English Language, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, advised other campus journalists to be persistent, focused and balanced in their reportage.

”There are no conventional patterns. Just keep doing what you do. It will pay off someday, very soon. Only if you are persistent,” he said.

The Campus Journalism Awards is among several awards organised to celebrate campus journalists across the country.

The second edition of the awards received 241 entries out of which 30 finalists emerged.

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