By Ndife Chioma
The Director of Fides Communication, Rev. Fr. Martin Anusi, has tasked journalists in Anambra State to censor their reports before releasing it to the public, saying that self-censorship is key to maintaining peace in a nation.
Fr. Anusi gave this charge on Friday, June 8, 2018, at Godwin Ezeemo NUJ Press Centre, Awka, at the Second Anambra Media Summit of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Anambra Chapter during his paper presentation titled, ”Self-Censorship, Ethical Conduct and Denominational Publications”.
Pointing out that self-discipline was extremely important for journalists, he described self-censorship as a measure of one’s professionalism, noting that it was easier to obey rules than to obey oneself.
He explained the need for media practitioners to be the conscience of the government, adding that the ethical code of journalists should be practical; not only contained in paper.
According to the Fides boss, the ultimate goal of the journalist was the realization of the human person in his dignity, and human society in its value.
In his words, ‘The mission of truth is to build and not to destroy. Journalism is not just about reportage but a relationship. It is a service,’ he said.
Speaking on denominational or pastoral publication, the priest said that while pastoral publication should be a symbol of witnessing, it could also be used to create new communities that were beyond the little communities.
You don’t solve problems from mega solution but in little ways. Transformation begins from you and me. If a journalist does not challenge himself, he cannot challenge those in public offices. Journalists should not just inform, but empower the people’ he stated.
Speaking at the Media Summit, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State Council, Comrade Sir Emma Ifesinachi, termed the Media Summit as a learning ground for journalists to aid them in carrying out their professional duties more efficiently and effectively.
He maintained that the reason behind the media summit was to provide a platform where practicing journalists could learn from other media gurus who had been in the field.
Earlier on the first day of the summit, a professor of Mass Communication and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof Chinyere Okunna, in her keynote address, titled, ”The Role of the Media in Promoting Good Governance”, said the media had an important responsibility in the quest for accountability in government.
Noting that this would in turn enhance the growth of the nation, she however argued that the media could not perform its role unless the practitioners were ethical in their conduct.
While urging more professionalism among journalists, the Mass Communication guru called on media house owners to always remunerate their workers as and when due to enable them to perform efficiently and with integrity.
The summit witnessed another paper presentation by a former commissioner for lands in the state, Barr Okoli Akirika, who spoke on ”The Role of Freedom of Information Act in Enhancing the Work of Journalists.’’
There was also a discussion segment on issues related to press freedom, truth and objectivity by the MD/Editor-in-Chief of National Light Newspapers, Sir Chuka Nnabuife; Ikeddy Isiguzo of Oracle Newspapers and Chris Azor.
One of the highlights of the summit was the conferment of the award of NUJ Man of the Year on Senator Victor Umeh of Anambra Central.
Awards were also conferred on the VC of Unizik, Prof Joseph Ahaneku and the member representing Anaocha, Njikoka, Dunukofia Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon Dozie Nwankwo.
The summit ended with a communiqué which, among others, called for greater press freedom in Nigeria to boost the performance of the media.