ABUJA-As the 2019 election draws closer, journalists have been called upon to avoid heating up the polity through misguided reportage.
Making the call on Tuesday in Abuja, the National Coordinator,Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, charged media practitioners to be professionally disciplined and not give into any temptations to be deployed for political blackmail which will derail the essence of the media as the conscience of the nation.
Onwubiko who pointed out that the country, is presently preparing for the biggest and most important electoral contest in its political annals and so much are at stake,strongly urged the media to be thoroughly professional and avoid being railroaded into carrying out political vendetta or blackmail.
“This is a very critical time in our nation’s history politically. The briefing became necessary following the need to caution the media to be professional. We need to be very careful with the way we do our stories, so that we don’t end up getting ourselves professionally bruised” he said.
Onwubiko who expressed dismay over a story published on an online medium, about a certain North West governor of the APC purportedly caught receiving bribe, as well as the revelation that a video exists without naming the person and again stating that the video would be used to seek the directive of the president to compel the alleged bribe taker to forego his second term election, stated that the medium has allowed their good venture to be deployed to wage political battle.
According to him, “We have noticed that there is currently an attempt to tarnish the corporate and public image of a politician with the aim of scuttling his second term ambitions. Going through the wishy-washy story will tell the audience that this online medium did a very poor job that fails to meet the ethical standards of best global practices.
“Our investigations on this specific story shows that it is a well-choreographed, politically tainted propaganda aimed at demonizing a prominent politician and to rubbish some of the achievements made. There is every reason to believe that it is a politically motivated hatchet job which should be dismissed as such” he added.
He noted also, that the online medium reportedly owned and operated by an erstwhile chief press secretary to the former governor of Kano state Alhaji Kwankwaso, totally misused and abused the professional ethics of media practice by publishing the story.
“We totally condemn the systematic pattern of employing subtle blackmail using the media of mass communication as the tool of political battles.
“We call on all political contenders for political offices to play the game by the rules and desist from the deployment of the online, social or mainstream media to circulate fabrications and inventors aimed at scoring political goals” he stated.
He further called on the media to be vigilant and work to sustain constitutional democracy. “Be very conscious of the fact that this is the period that politicians will definitely look for your services and may want to use your medium to antagonize their opponents. Don’t throw your medium to be used for vendetta and blackmail”, he advised.