…Pro-democracy activists, scholars, students, others to lead conversation
NIGERIAN Guild of Editors (NGE) has scheduled to commence its Town Hall Meeting in the South-west Geo-political Zone today at De Rembrandt Hotel, 172 Obafemi Awolowo Road, Beside Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja, Lagos, with theme: ”Agenda Setting For Sustainable Democratic Culture.”
The main objective of the meeting which is supported by the US Embassy in Nigeria is to assess the media performance in consolidating Nigeria’s democracy – citizens’ verdict and outlining media agenda for the future.
In a statement by its president, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Lagos, the professional body of all the editors in Nigeria, said the meeting will also provide a platform for the media stakeholders to remind editors and other media managers of the sacred duties they are tasked to perform by the constitution on behalf of the citizens.
Drawing copious examples from democracies around the world, the statement added that the meeting, which is billed to hold in all the six geo-political zones across the country is expected to instill in the editors the need to perform their duties with the highest form of standard and sense of responsibility.
“The town hall meeting will provide a platform for media stakeholders to undertake self-introspection and also begin a conversation on a framework for media regulation, which will not only have their buy-in but also improve the standard for media practice in Nigeria, thereby reducing, if not eliminate incidents of sub-standard and unprofessional reportage in the Nigerian media.
“Such conversations and hopefully eventual adoption of self-regulatory framework could also have a regional spin-off whereby countries within the region, and indeed Africa, could be encouraged to borrow a leaf from the Nigerian example, as was the case with the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria subsequently having a positive spin-off in Ghana”, the NGE added.
Those invited for the town meeting, which will be followed by a two-day capacity building for editors are leading pro-democracy/human rights activists in the zone, renowned scholars from the academic community, pro-media rights groups, students from different higher institutions, faith groups, members of the international community and the media.
On the expected impact of the meeting and the capacity building workshop, the NGE said that a pool of Nigerian editors and media managers would be galvanised and would be committed to the highest ethical standard and taking robust actions to ensure same. And committed to the promotion and protection of the right to independent press, freedom of expression and the deepening of democratic space.
The statement added: ”The NGE also hoped that at the end of the project, mobilised pool of editors will be constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people in line with Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The NGE explained further that the programme looks to galvanise the key stakeholders to act responsibly and deny the authorities the moral authority to take punitive actions against the media for performing their constitutionally assigned role to hold the government to account, and to the general citizens the right to hold and voice their opinions on the conduct of public officers.