JOE EFFIONG, UYO
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Ini Ememobong has challenged the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) to wake up to the realities that all is not well in the Nigerian media industry.
Ememobong has specifically harped on the poor welfare scheme in the Nigeria journalism industry and wondered why the three groups have nort so far found it necessary to collectively fashion out welfare packages that would not only ensure that media workers earn living wages, but also rekindle the waning prestige on the profession.
He said these stakeholders should partner the next National Assembly in regulating media ownership in Nigeria as the current mushrooming and fragmental ownership with little or no capital base have adversely affected the standard of the profession as well as the confidence of its practitioners.
Proper regulation, he said would help ensure a favourable welfare condition for journalists and other media workers, whom he regretted have been subjected to untold hardship due to poor welfare system.
Speaking with Daily Sun on Tuesday in Uyo the commissioner said; “The next National Assembly should look into regulating the media sector but in consultation with stakeholders
“How much do these people earn? It’s a profession. These people buy from the same market. We must find a way to ensure that newspaper houses are viable. If you are not viable, you have no business being in business, else you are going to licence people to go and beg; you are going to licence people to begin to murder the integrity of others.
“If a media house cannot run, there is absolutely no need for that media house to employ people and put them on the street because you are helping to spoil the profession.
“How many media houses can pay regular salaries in Nigeria,? How many can fund journalists to fly to cover events, so that if they see something negative about the event, they could freely and objectively report?.
” If the news source is responsible for your logistics and training, you cannot say anything wrong about him. How many journalists have gone back for post-school certification, courtesy of their employers?
“The media are what everyone needs to invest in. If the media are not well taken care of, it would show on the quality of reportage and at the end of the day, the nation would be worse for.”
He praised journalists for their role journalists in keeping the society safe and in holding government accountable to the people, but tasķed the NUJ to rid itself of quacks to sanitize the profession to take its pride of place in the society.
According to Ememobong, a pliant press is harmful to the society therefore journalists shouldn’t shy away from objectively playing their roles as watchdogs of the society,
“Do not write to malign people so you do not hurt the society. I do not believe in a pliant press because they would continue to sing praises until the entire society collapses and you won’t even know that the society has callapsed.
“But we need a responsible press that is able to say the truth, commend the commendable and condemn the condemnable, balance their stories, pay attention to development journalism”. He advised