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Ahead 2023 elections, Nigerian editors’ rally in Owerri

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From Rose Oranye, Owerri

OWERRI, Imo State capital is at the center of the news as editors from different parts of the country gather for the 18th All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC).

  The conference with theme, ‘Political Landscape, Credible Elections and the Role of Editors’ which began yesterday will end on Sunday. Its aim is to achieve common ground among senior editors, media owners and managers in shaping constructive, objective and productive narrative before, during and after the 2023 general elections. Organisers package the rally to achieve credible and peaceful elections in the general interest of the country.

  The conference will also afford the editors the opportunity to discuss issues affecting their profession and proffer solutions that will enhance journalism practice in Nigeria.

  Scores of editors from various parts of Nigeria, in the membership of NGE began arriving Concorde Hotel, Owerri, venue of the conference, before noon yesterday. They were seen chatting and exchanging pleasantries while cheking into their various hotel rooms.

  It was further observed that most businesses around the area, particularly food sellers were already having a field day making huge sales as majority of the editors hang out to catch fun and interact with colleagues.

  Among those spotted on arrival include the first female professor of Mass Communication, Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), publisher of the National Light group of Newspapers, Sir Chuka Nnabuife and a former editor of National Light newspaper, Mr. Victor Agusiobo.

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  Speaking on their safe arrival, Prof. Okunna, who is scheduled to chair the opening ceremony, today, thanked God for bringing her and those with her safely to Owerri, stating that there were apprehension and anxiety while they were embarking on the journey considering the security situation of the country.

  On expectations from the conference, she said: “We are here for a very profound conference. It’s election time and editors are meeting here and everybody is looking at us to see what we can do during the elections. I foresee a very vibrant conference. I foresee brainstorming. I foresee the editors rising to the occasion to make sure they don’t disappoint Nigerians with their reports in the forthcoming elections. So, I believe it will go well from tomorrow to the end of the conference.”

  Sir Nnabuife also communicated his high expectations from the august event thus: “I am expecting that leaders of the media will offer real and informed direction on how social communication would respond to the challenges of 2023 elections because as things stand currently, the mass media has not really risen to take the required lead in the build up to the polls.  

The challenges so far, ahead the elections, especially in the area of hate speech, fake news, disregard of fragile social sensitivity and manipulation of ethnic and sectoral sentiments are increasing. But as things stand, the media have only been playing catch up, not driving the pulsation. Editors need to offer, clear, functional directions to Nigerians.”

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