Mr. Nnamdi Njemanze, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council, has called on media practitioners to promote peace in the society by de-emphasizing acrimony and the use of hate speech in their news reporting.
He made the call at its Conference with the theme, ‘Repositioning the Media for Democratic Sustainability in Nigeria’, held to mark the World Press Freedom Day, on Thursday in Abuja.
Njemanze appealed to all journalists to abide by the Code of Ethics of the profession to enable them effectively play their role.
Njemanze, who spoke on the Role of the Media in Sustaining Peaceful and Non- Violent Elections, said journalists should eschew sensationalism in reporting situations, which were likely to hit up the polity.
“I wish to appeal to all journalists to try as much as possible to abide by the ethical and legal provisions to promote non-violent elections.
“The seasons of electioneering are times to take advantage to express and partake in the right to freedom of opinion or expression.
“Any media practitioner covering elections must be conversant with the legal provisions governing the collation and declaration of results,’’ he said.
He noted that there was a need to take stock and re-strategize on how to build on the gains of civil democracy by making concerted efforts for the benefit of Nigerian citizens.
Also echoing similar views, Dr. Emman Shehu, an activist, said that the growing scourge of fake news was not unconnected with the rise of citizen journalism.
Shehu, however, explained that media credibility was an increasing problem and this had caused a lot of damage to the profession of journalism.
According to him, fabrication has become the main driver of news rather than the traditional newsgathering process anchored on proven ethical standards.
“Some mainstream media have also started to shift the ethical lines to give inaccuracy a leeway on the argument that there is the need to survive in the increasing competition,’’ he said.
The aim of the conference was to enhance the instrumentality of media to deepen democracy, good governance, human rights and peaceful non-violent elections in Nigeria. (NAN)