The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has concluded plans to release the revised ‘Code of Ethics’ for journalists in the country. The union said that the revised version of the document would be out as soon as some key stakeholders put the necessary finishing touches to it. The National President of the NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, made this known at a ‘Digital Journalism and Fact-Checking Workshop’ for journalists in Rivers State, last Friday.
The event was sponsored by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and attracted journalists from various media outfits in the state. The workshop, themed: “Imperatives of Digital News Verifications for 2023 Elections,” held in Port Harcourt, was facilitated by the Image Merchants Promotion (IMPR) Limited, the publishers of PRNigeria, in collaboration with the NUJ.
While emphasising that the Nigerian media must put in place a framework for self-regulation, Isiguzo said the NUJ was championing the formulation of a Bill of Rights for media practitioners, together with the establishment of an Ombudsman to regulate the practice of journalism in the country.
“Appointing a Press Ombudsman is one efficient way to help secure the respect and freedom of the Nigerian press.
“We also believe that the Ombudsman would help deliver satisfactory, speedy, and accessible remedies to many of the complaints against our journalists and media organisations,” he said.
Ahead of the 2023 polls and the increasing proliferation of fake news, the NUJ boss also called for the adoption of ‘Global Ethics Charter for Journalists’ by media professionals.
“While there is nothing like ethics and morality in the social media, and by implications in the general information disorder we find ourselves in, however, it is proper to encourage accountability in the mainstream media and in whatever we do as media professionals,” he said.
Isiguzo said that for Nigerian journalists to assist in making the 2023 polls peaceful, they must promote and adhere to high ethical standards in their reportage while also ensuring that they report political issues and events responsibly.
Earlier, the Director General of NITDA, MalamKashifuInuwaAbdullahi, restated the agency’s commitment to the expansion of the digital space, expansion of journalists’ human capital development space, and the promotion of robust digital-based journalism, that serves the best and wider interest of the nation.
Represented by the agency’s spokesperson, HajiaHadiza Umar, the DG noted that learning how to do fact-checks would help media professionals carry out due diligence on any information that comes to them while also stemming the tide of fake news.
“There’s no doubting the fact that we are in the digital age where everything is now based on computers and the Internet.
“It is of interest to us, therefore, that our journalists take advantage of the available digital tools to do their jobs better and serve the country better,” said the NITDA director general.
Four other papers were presented on diverse topics related to the application of digital journalism, fact-checking and mitigating fake news.
From The Tide