The call was made Wednesday during a conference on media sustainability organized in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, which was attended by the Progressive Impact Organisation for Community Development (PRIMORG), a former Chief Executive Officer and Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Trust Newspapers, Dan-Ali Mannir, asked journalists to be sensitive to issues and the mood of the the nation and ensure they apply professionalism in doing their job.
Mannir noted that before the 2023 general elections, media practitioners need to examine how they carry out their work to ensure citizens benefit from it. The government at all levels is held accountable always.
“As we head towards the next elections, the Nigerian media must pause and think given the divisions amongst citizens.
“The media must be seen to be fair, objective, and question the government every day. Our work is to make the government uncomfortable and bring comfort to the people.”
On the need for the media industry to collaborate to foster economic growth, Mannir said, “We must remain committed and collaborate and engage the market.” While urging media directors to take the welfare of their staff seriously, stressing it is one of the primary keys to the sustainability of the media industry.
On his part, the Executive Director of ICIR, Dayo Aiyetan, advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti-graft agencies to consider the media as partners rather than adversaries in the anti-corruption fight.
While insisting that anti-graft and security agencies must see the media as a committed partner to win the fight against corruption, he expressed concerns over unwarranted harassment by some security outfits after investigations by the Center unraveled corruption in some government agencies.
“It is disturbing when a report is done about a government agency, and the next thing is you get a call from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and even the State Security Service (SSS) harassing you. This is not good.
“We call on the government to work with the media if it is serious in the fight against corruption,” Aiyetan said.
Similarly, the CEO RadioNow, Kadaria Ahmed, stressed the need for media owners to use their various outfits to hold the government accountable.
Ahmed said, “Our journalism must set the country on the right path.” On the sustainability of Nigerian media, she called on media owners to be creative with content and explore technological innovation to increase their incomes.
She added, “given Nigeria’s current economic realities, running a successful media business in Nigeria is delusional.”
Earlier, the keynote speaker of the event, who is the Chairman of a leading media conglomerate in South Africa, Tshepo Mahloele, had advised Nigerian media and other businesses to target revenue generation, stressing they must have a critical purpose that sets them apart from their contemporaries. He emphasized the need for the media to serve as agents of development in their countries of operation and lamented journalists’ challenges, which the government sometimes orchestrates.