Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) – By Albert OGRAKA
DELTA State Governor, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has urged journalists to shun reports capable of propagating hate in the society.
Governor Okowa spoke as the special guest of honour at the 2015 Press Week of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council with the theme: Reporting Okowa’s S.M.A.R.T Agenda: What Benefits To Deltans?
The event which held on Wednesday, December 09, 2015 at the Nigeria Labour Congress in Asaba, Delta State capital was well attended by virtualy all practicing and veteran journalists, labour leaders, leaders of thought, politicians, captains of various industries, among others in the state.
In his speech, Governor Okowa said that journalists have a burden to report on realities on the ground, not prejudices or rumours which are capable of propagating hate, especially in a multi-ethnic society. He emphasised that journalists should always cross-check their facts before going to press.
“As far as I am concerned, if a reporter publishes the truth, it is for the good of the society, as long as the principles of fairness, equity, observance of professional ethics and balance are followed.
“What is unacceptable is to embark on creative writing and invention of sensational stories to discredit government or persons; you cannot build on falsehood and expect it to stand, because, sooner or later, it will surely crumble”, he said.
While calling on journalists to do their jobs in a way that will distinguish the profession and bring honour and glory to it, and to aid sustainable development in the society, Governor Okowa said his administration will always be media-friendly because, “it is important for government to allow the journalists to carry out their watchdog role in the society if any positive impact is to be made in socio-economic and political development of the society.”
“Good governance cannot be achieved when the press does not have unfettered access to the process of governance, but, the access also demands that journalists should be responsible in their professional conduct, taking into cognizance, their social responsibility as they play their watchdog role in the society,” the Governor noted.
Okowa who was accompanied by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro and other top government functionaries, assured the NUJ in Delta State of his administration’s zeal to support in building and furnishing the ongoing Press Centre project.
The National President of NUJ, Comrade Waheed Odusile, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire and Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah among others who spoke at the occasion emphasised that freedom of speech as enshrined in the constitution of the country should be upheld while the state chairman of the union, Comrade Norbert Chiazor said the “NUJ will remain responsible and responsive in projecting issues that would improve the lives of Deltans as well as Nigerians under civil rule.”
He appealed to Governor Okowa to assist the union in the construction of the NUJ Secretariat in the state as “Delta is the only state in the South south geo political zone without a Press Centre, even with the pioneering contributions to the media history in Nigeria.”
Highpoint of the occasion was the delivery of a lecture by Comrade Tunde Thompson and the presentation of a compendium of registered practicing journalists in the state as well as presentation of awards to deserving Deltans.
The annual Press Week was preceded by Awareness Rally and a Novely Football match at the Squash Court, ASABA.
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