The Nigerian Press Council (NPC) has called on media practitioners on need to adhere to the code of professional ethics, stressing that it is germane to the integrity and ethos of the profession.
Penpushing reports that, Executive Secretary of the Council, Francis Nwosu emphasised this in statement to mark the 2021 World Press Day, with the theme, ‘Information as a Public Good’ adding that it is very apt, and that the place of information in the sustainable development of nations cannot be under estimated
The statement said the council considered the theme very vital and critical in view of what we are witnessing around the world occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, adding that information about the virus and efforts by various countries in combating the virus as well as safety measures have dominated the print, broadcast and social media.
‘The role of the media has been critical in the dissemination of information about the pandemic. The public rely on the media among other actors for information to help in understanding the disease’, Nwosu said.
‘The issue of factual content devoid of fake, misinformation, disinformation and mal-information underlines critical matters of discourse in relation to information as a public good. Fake news, hate speeches and the like help in fueling hatred in societies and nations’, he noted.
Penpushing further reports that, the council, however, pointed out that, democratic settings guarantee freedoms – freedom of expression and communication, stressing that, every great information or communication advance in history has been seen in its time as furthering education.
The Executive Secretary noted that, such advances also help in promoting peace and understanding, stressing that, information play central role in conflict and crisis situations, hence, need to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of the press.
Penpushing also reports that he said it is to remind governments of various countries of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The scribe stated that freedom of the press remains the bulwark of democratic governance, adding that this universal observation of the day must occasion in media practitioners, as purveyors of information, that freedom of the press derives from freedom of expression and ought to be exercised with utmost high sense of duty, responsibility and professionalism.
‘Codes of practice of journalism the world over share common reverence to the elements of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, fairness and balance in the information they purvey. As purveyors of information and opinions as well as upholders of public accountability, we must be reminded to be faithful to our ethics and exhibit a high sense of professional and social responsibility. As media professionals we must shun unbridled sensationalism’.
Penpushing reports that, Nwosu enjoined the press to use the occasion to self evaluate its duty to the public and continue to hold those in governance accountable while also being socially and ethical responsible and accountable to the public.
The Council in the statement also urged the media to continue its developmental strives and its healing process to bind Nigerians together in the face of seeming security and political challenges.
‘The Council will continue to support the press through its efforts at ensuring the sustainability of high professional standards through capacity building programmes and other activities’, Nwosu assured.
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