ABUJA: As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day 2021, Journalists have been urged to adopt ‘Solutions Journalism’ (SoJo) while reporting development in the country, so as to give hope to the citizenry.
This was disclosed on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 in a Webinar organised by UNESCO, US Embassy Abuja and United Nations Information Centre, with the theme, “Promoting Information as a Public Good”.
Speaking at the Webinar which was attended by over 50 participants from civil society, youth, media professionals, academia, international organizations and diplomatic missions, the Director, United Nations Information Centre, Lagos, Mr Ronald Kayanja, noted that regardless of the current challenges bedeviling the country, the Media has a responsibility to adopt “hope and Solutions Journalism”.
According to him, “Many good stories are happening in Nigeria. It is not all about killings, banditry. The Media should report things that bring hope to Nigerians”.
Speaking on the theme of the commemoration, ‘Information as Public Good,’ Kayanja emphasized that to enjoy information as public good, the Media must be given adequate support by the state, adding that democracy cannot thrive without the Media.
On the issue of misinformation, he noted that the Media has a key role to stem the tide of misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 vaccination around the globe, stressing that, “Journalism is the main vaccine against the COVID-19 misinformation, we must support press freedom”.
In his opening remarks, the Director of the UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel), Dr. Dimitri Sanga, while stating that UNESCO has been working to create more transparency online while protecting human rights, called for renewed commitment to Press freedom.
For his part, Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali, said the policing and Media career have a lot of intersections due to the risks involved in both professions, and pledged the Police commitment to protect the rights of Journalists and ensure they practice their trade without any forms of molestation.
Alkali who was represented by Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba at the Webinar, charged the Nigerian Media to help fight the scourge of fake news by practicing responsive journalism.
Earlier, the Nigerian Union of Journalists President, Chris Isiguzo, stated that the media has been worst hit in the face of COVID-19 with thousands of Journalists losing their jobs.
He further expressed dissatisfaction with the incessant harassment of Broadcast media organisations by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), noting that these Media houses now operate on their toes without knowing when the next clamp down will be announced.
Experts at the Webinar collectively declared that the time for Freedom of Information cannot be better than now.