The practice of ethical journalism devoid of biases and sensationalism is critical to national cohesion and development.
This was the thrust of discussions at a book launch of one Nigeria’s most celebrated journalists and Executive Director, International Press Centre Lanre Arogundade.
The book titled, Media and Elections: Professional Responsibilities of Journalists” delves into the responsibilities and conduct of journalists in the coverage and reportage of elections in Nigeria.
In the words of the author, “no greater time is the agenda-setting role of the media more important than the time of elections, as the citizens often depend on the information from media sources as an indication of electoral choices to make when voting.
This information is also very critical in determining citizen’s participation in the electoral process”.
The award-winning author emphasised the need for media professionals to understand the imperatives and mechanisms that will make them be more professional, more conflict-sensitive, more gender supportive and indeed more public interest and issue-oriented in the coverage of elections and the political process.
The book reviewer and Executive Editor of The News magazine, Kunle Ajibade noted that economic hardship, political affiliation and some other pecuniary motives have watered down the practice of true journalism across the world.
He cited the example of the United States elections which outcome he said was influenced by the failure of the American media which rather than focus on policy and developmental issues preferred to dwell on the mails of the Democratic candidate.
A scenario which in his words led to the emergence of a President whose legitimacy and morality comes to question.
He called on media practitioners to rise above primordial sentiments and compromises which are inimical to the growth of true Democracy and the overall well being of the people and the society at large.
By Taiwo Ojedele, Lagos
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