By: COLLINS AMADI
Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has called on media practitioners in the state to support his second term bid, saying that it is in their best interest that he is reelected this year.
Gov Uzodimma made the call on Tuesday at the one-day professional development workshop for practicing journalists in Imo State held at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in New Owerri.
The governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Declan Emelumba said the interest of journalists is better served under his watch.
Emelumba, who described the governor as a lover of journalists, disclosed that the governor started showing love to the journalists even as a private individual, later as a senator and now as a governor.
He cited the Media Excellence Awards for practicing media professionals instituted by the governor to buttress his point.
He said; “Governor Uzodimma is a lover of the media. He showed love for journalists as a private person, as a senator and has continued as a governor.
“Work for the success of this administration and the political success of the governor. Politics is about interest. It will be in the best interest of journalists that Gov Uzodimma continues in office”.
The commissioner urged journalists in the state to shun yellow journalism and engage only in factual reportage.
Emelumba expressed indignation at the rising incidences of fake news which he said could make or mar the society.
The commissioner cited a report which claimed that the state House of Assembly complex was burning and another that said President Muhammadu Buhari was stoned in Katsina State as cases of fake news when no such incidents happened.
He therefore enjoined journalists to guard against fake news as it is capable of causing irreparable damage to the society.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Labour and Productivity, Prince Ford Ozumba lauded journalists practicing in the state for their hard work but urged them to be guided by the ethics of the profession.
Ozumba noted that journalists are rated highly in all climes and enjoined them not to derail.
The workshop had as its theme;”Upgrading Strategic Communication Competences in the Digital Era”.
In his lecture entitled; “Social Media: Opportunities and Challenges of Journalists As Partners For Sustainable Security In The Society”, Professor Emman-Owums Owuamalam urged journalists to keep abreast of digital age requirements.
The Professor of Mass Communication expressed dismay at journalists who treasure reporting events from the negative perspective, saying such attitude smacks of ignorance.
He emphasized balanced news reportage, noting that reporting of negative news could trigger unrest and insecurity.
Prof Owuamalam also called on media organization to ensure proper editing of their contents before serving them to their audience.
In his paper entitled; “Guarding Against Libel and Injurious Publications”, a lecturer at the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Owerri Study Centre, Charles Nwankwo emphasized the need for media practitioners to avoid libel, defamation, sedition, slander and contempt of court.
He noted that freedom of speech is guaranteed in the constitution but quickly added that freedom is not absolute.
According to him, the law, reason and society do not allow unrestricted liberty to publish at large not minding the consequences and their effect on individual and public rights.
Nwankwo however enjoined journalists to be bold to test the Freedom of Information Act by suing anybody or institution which refrains from providing information which the journalists had sought for in writing.
The lecturer noted that the press was deployed to fight for the country’s independence, stressing that it is the duty of the present-day practitioners to use the profession to see to the continued oneness of Nigeria in which good governance, freedom, equality and justice reign.