Over 800 media stakeholders, who converged in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State to attend the maiden edition Oyo State Government Information Summit, on Wednesday cautioned media practitioners from reporting inciting as well as divisive messages that could lead to chaos and precipitate anarchy in the country.
The summit, which had in attendance Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, his counterpart from Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, Media Chiefs, Media Regulatory Agencies, Government Functionaries, Public Relations Practitioners, Information Officers, Communication Lecturers, Reporters, Broadcasters, Lawyers, Communication Students and other Stakeholders, advocated for the promotion of language for peace and stability in the country by media organizations.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the summit with the theme: “Managing Information & Communications: the Catalyst for Sustainable Development, the stakeholders called for effective monitoring of media houses by various Regulatory agencies, noting that strict compliance with regulations guiding the ethics of the media profession should be followed.
“After a careful examination of issues addressed on past and current Nigerian socio-political milieu, the Summit condemned inflammatory statements and narratives from different parts of the country on media channels as well as linguistic or extra linguistic acts that can spur hatred and unnecessary tension. Nigerian media should encourage the use of positive languages to promote peace and harmony in the society,” the communiqué committee headed by Dr. Bayo Busari explained.
The communiqué also added that there should be regulation of Online Publishers through legislation as well as Registration of bloggers and online publishers, saying that there is need for synergy between government and media practitioners as catalysts for sustainable development in Nigeria.
The participants at the summit, the first of its kind by any state government, commended the Oyo State Government for organizing the epochal summit explaining that it offered the opportunity for Stakeholders to examine the challenges in the practice of Information and Communication management, consequently calling for a regular Information summit of this nature, twice in a year.
According to the communiqué, “there should be periodic training and mentoring for Media Practitioners and Information managers, provision of necessary working tools for media practitioners, in line with modern trend in the industry, in addition to the revival and sustenance of the culture of professionalism among media Practitioners.
The participants charged media owners to pay more attention to the welfare of media practitioners and information managers, with a clarion call for the speedy commissioning of the Oyo State Archive nearing construction.
Governor Ajimobi, while declaring the summit open, noted that being objective is one of the most difficult things to be in life, enjoining media practitioners to ensure that they correctly and factually inform the people so that the government and the people can always walk in the same direction.
He stated that efforts to bridge the information and communication gap, address lack of professionalism and ethical standards is the first Oyo State Council on Information Summit saying, “Our answer is this maiden edition of Oyo State Council on Information Summit with the theme: Managing information and communications: the catalyst for sustainable development. It is convened by the Oyo state government for stakeholders in the media profession, to exchange views and ideas and to seek ways of improvement.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I implore all of you here, to please let us correctly, factually, inform our people so that the government and the people can walk in the same direction. As the internet and digital media usage becomes increasingly widespread, it is a matter of strategic necessity for information managers to fashion out practical strategies in the engagement of the various interest groups,” Governor Ajimobi added.
In his short remark, Governor Fayose urged the practitioners to look inwards and lead by example with whatever they are sending to the government and the public, adding that if things get better through the information and communication disseminated, it is in the interest of everybody.
He lamented that most journalists have abandoned their first professional call and have become what he described as “professional-political journalists”, urging them to choose a path to follow out of the two fields.