Media ethics, professionalism threatened by new technology– Gbajabiamila

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has accused the emergence of new technology for the breach of ethics and professionalism in media practice.

The speaker said this on Saturday during a training workshop organised by his office for journalists covering the House of Representatives.

He called on genuine practitioners to uphold the doctrines of the profession in defence of democracy, adding that the media is a great fulcrum.

He said: “Democracy is a fragile construct. It depends on the support of the electorate; it requires active participation by an informed citizenry was themed; ; it demands competence, capacity, and integrity from those who oversee the affairs of the state, and it will not long survive unless both the leaders and the citizens operate within the rule of law. Democracy also requires careful tending and robust defence as a matter of course.

“The role of the press in a democracy is multi-faceted. You inform the public and you educate them about the law and government, politics and governance. You record history as it happens and preserve the national memory as a guide and warning for the future. And you hold power to account, ensuring that those who are chosen to serve the public interest keep faith with the citizens who depend on them. Democracy will not long survive without a vibrant, independent, innovative and patriotic press.

“Through the years, technological advances, the rapid increase in access to internet services, and the growth of social media has changed the way we receive and interact with news and information. What we understand as the professional press – newspapers and magazines, television and radio – are now in competition with every member of the public with a smartphone, access to the internet and the inclination to participate in the public discourse”

On his part, Clerk of the House, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria, also warned against dissemination of fake news, saying “There is need to ensure a more organized, effective and unified communication channel for the National Assembly to curtail not only the litany of erroneous or sometimes completely false reportage of news about the activities and actions of the National Assembly, but also to protect the integrity of the reporting media houses”.

Also speaking during the event, spokesman of the House, Benuamin Kalu said public policy making relies largely on accurate information, remarking that “it is a standard rule that public policy must be evidence based. The legislature, like all other policymakers, is guided by press reportage on the pulse of the nation when making laws.”

Furthermore, Chairman of the House of Representatives Press Corps, Grace Ike, while referring a quote from a popular writer on need for capacity building, said, “the training of journalists cannot be overemphasized, especially in this critical times”, when the world is confronted with the dangers of fake news.

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