By Grace Alegba
Lagos, Nov. 20, 2023
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has aligned with measures so far adopted by the Federal Government to revive the economy.
This is contained in a communique issued by the NGE in Lagos on Monday, following its just-concluded four-day annual conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The conference, which ended at the weekend, was attended by publishers, media executives and senior editors of print, electronic and online media houses across the country.
The communiqué was signed by the NGE President, Eze Anaba, and the General Secretary, Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren.
The professional body of editors, in the communique, however, urged government at all levels to cushion the immediate effects of the sacrifices of Nigerians towards economic recovery.
It called for short-term measures that would address soaring prices of goods and services, the depreciating currency and declining purchasing power, among others.
The editors also noted the crucial role of the media in deepening democracy and economic growth.
According to the body, the federal government has a unique role to play in media sustainability in the country.
The NGE, in the communique, also touched on media sustainability and the existential threat by Big Tech.
It said participants at the conference advised the federal government to follow the ongoing trends around the world by supporting adopted global bargaining code.
This, it said, should be done through legislation, which would compel Tech platforms, like Google, Facebook and others to negotiate payment to local news media houses for using their content.
The NGE said that participants at the conference also discussed the state of the broadcast sector in Nigeria.
It urged the federal government to strengthen the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the regulatory body of broadcasting, in the general interest of the sector.
‘’The National Broadcasting Commission, as statutorily constituted in Nigeria is not an independent body like its counterparts in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“The National Assembly should amend the NBC Act to make it an autonomous body that will report solely to the National Assembly, and not the Minister of Information.
‘’Such independence of operation, devoid of arbitrary government intervention, will create a better sense of professionalism in the industry.
“Instead of always emerging from obscurity to bare its fangs at media organisations, the NBC and electronic media organisations should have regular roundtables on issues of mutual interests’’, it said in the communique.
On freedom of the press, the conference observed that for every right, there were corresponding responsibilities, urging journalists to be circumspect by adhering to journalism’s professional Code of Ethics.
‘’In the course of holding government accountable – in line with Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), journalists should not shy away from telling the truth – as criticism is not synonymous with sedition, and public officials must imbibe certain democratic norms, which include openness towards criticism,’’ it said.
It urged government to do more in the security sector to ensure safety of lives and property, and challenged media houses to lead the campaign against every situation that is out to undermine the security of the country.
The conference, with the theme, ‘’Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: Role of the Media’’, was declared open by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was represented by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagu.
Present at the conference were the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno; the Conference Chairman and Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Uncle Sam Amuka; former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, and former Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, Ray Ekpu.
Various papers were presented by experts – covering all aspects of the programme, including goodwill messages.
Among the resource persons who made in-depth presentations were Dr. Muda Yusuf, former Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mallam Ribadu; the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of Economy, Mr. Wale Edun; Azubuike Ishiekwene, Executive Vice Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the Leadership newspaper; Dr. Chima Amadi and Richard Akinnola.