From: Bianca Iboma
President Nigeria Guild of Editors, Mrs. Funmi Egbemode, has called on the Federal Government to provide rescue funds for the media industry as the fourth estate of the realm, which has been neglected for long.
Egbemode said during the World Press Day organised by US Mission in conjunction with Lagos State Television (LTV).
She added that the media protects everybody in he society, but in turn it is neglected.
According to her, “If the Aviation ministry gets rescue funds why not the Press. Some of the issues that the freedom of information bill or act should address includes the economic strength of the media.”
She also said that the media in Nigeria was not totally free despite the bill passed into law to that effect.
She said that the media has been siphoned.Siphoned not just on threat and arrest making Life difficult for the media business is part of it.
Citing her experience some years ago when she was working with a media organization that May and Baker did not like that they were denied advert.
Consul General of US Embassy in Nigeria, John Bray, said the media should always hold governments accountable as part of its watchdog role which he said was key to the smooth running of every day democracy.
Bray also stressed that government should stop hiding information from the media.
He admonished Nigeria journalists to be credible in their reportage. “Once their reports are credible it creates trust within the government and masses.
Bray said that Americans got it press freedom bill signed into law under Former president of US Barack Obama in July 2010.
Nigeria Editor, Africa Check David Ajikobi, who presented a paper tited, “The Role of fact-checking in holding government accountable,” said when public office holders make some claims, it was the duty of the media to checks the facts of such claims.
Ajikobi said that there was a huge difference between facts and opinion, which should be understood by media practitioners in Nigeria. “Until a system is deployed and the processes of fact-checking applied in information dissemination there would continue a wide spread of fake news especially with the rise of the new media.”
He added that public debates have eroded with disinformation and fake news, noting that fact-checking was critical in today’s journalism.
Another facilitator at the event, a Lecturer at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Mr. Oluyomi Lords, said in his presentation that media failure was based on the Nigerian constitution.
According to him, Section 39 and 22 are the major flaws that contributed to the state of Nigeria media. The section 39 addresses the media as right of expression and powers of the media being independent.Can’t the media given right to stand on its own like the judiciary?
He explained that the media problem originated from section 39 and 22 which talks about press right and freedom of expression as well as responsibilities of the press to spread information unhindered.
In his words, “This two sections of the constitution can be interpreted in chapter 6 which provides Nigerians right to economic resources, social infrastructures, environment protection among others.