… as Guild of Editors Converge in Uyo

Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno has called on media practitioners to be more circumspect in their line of duty to avoid breaking the fabrics of the society through unsubstantiated breaking news.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 19th All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC), in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, he advocated for greater concentration on development journalism for the greater good of the society.

He noted that the media plays a critical role in shaping the society, adding that magnifying the challenges of the society through negative reportage, and demonizing symbols of authority was like the proverbial ill wind that blows nobody any good.

According to him, “permit me to say that the growth of any society is predicated on how such a society is being defined, its national ethos, characteristics, identity and defining values.

“If there is a constant drib-drib of negative reportage, where the challenges of the process of our nation-building are overly magnified and our symbols of authority, randomly demonized and our potentials routinely talked down on, in spite of how large such a market may be, foreign investors will be wary of coming to such a volatile environment.

“I want to plead that you use the media, to engender a new template of reportage, one that is developmental-oriented, where our leaders are called to account without being overly obtrusive.

“No one desires a plaint media that acts like the cheer-leaders to the government, but in trying to break the news, we should be careful not to break the fabric of the society. You need the nation first in order to freely practice your profession,” he added.

The Governor who was Guest of Honour at the occasion expressed the delight of the government and people of Akwa Ibom State over the assemblage of the media topshots and commended the Nigerian media for the robust role played in advocating justice, equity and fair play.

Governor Eno extolled the inclusive disposition of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in governance, irrespective of party lines, describing as apt the theme of the Conference which he affirmed, seeks to examine critical issues in the nation as they relate to the role of the media.

He however acknowledged and thanked the media for the support given him so far since his assumption of office and carefully rolled out his achievements in various key sectors including agriculture, rural development, infrastructural maintenance, security management, education, aviation, and others in line with the ARISE Agenda.

Flagging off the 2023 edition of the conference, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was represented by the Minister of Information and National Re-orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, congratulated the Eze Anaba- led Executive of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and paid tribute to Alhaji Lateef kayode Jakande as well as other progenitors of the revered Guild of Editors.

He described the conference as a gathering of the elites of the Journalism profession and the role in shaping public opinion as invaluable.

The President who charged media practitioners to use their agenda setting role to advocate positive values and complement efforts of government said, “I use this opportunity to restate our commitment to the freedom of the press and the provision of the necessary environment to enable the media to perform it’s constitutionally assigned role, holding the government accountable.

“I however urge you, our esteemed editors to be vigilant, and help clearing our media space of the ills of the fake news, misinformation, disinformation and malinformation which portend great danger for our country,” he stated.

On his part, the Governor of Cross River State, Prince Bassey Otu, represented by his Commissioner for Information, Mr. Erasmus Ekpang, called on leaders in the media profession to device means of managing the proliferating trend of unedited media articles through social media platforms and cautioned against the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) which, he said, was capable of misleading, if not checked.

In their remarks, Chairman of the Conference and Founder of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Sam Amuka and the President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Eze Anaba advocated participatory democracy and respect to the rule of law for a better Nigeria, even as they thanked Governor Umo Eno for the hospitality extended to members of the Guild who trooped in from across the country for the 19th annual conference.

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