A former Minister of Information, Chief Frank Nweke Jnr; an Information Officer in the US Embassy in Nigeria, Jeanne Clark; President, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Mustapha Isah and other stakeholders on Tuesday re-emphasised the role of journalists in the sustenance of a democratic culture.
They argued that without effective and efficient media performing its constitutional role as watchdog of society, Nigeria’s democracy would not function well let alone being deepened or strengthened.
The stakeholders spoke in Enugu during a two-day South East Town Hall Meeting/Capacity Building for Editors, themed: “Agenda-Setting for Sustainable Democratic Culture,” organised by the Nigeria Guild of Editors and supported by the United States Embassy in Nigeria.
The lead speaker, Nweke, whose speech was entitled “Assessing Media Performance in Consolidating Nigeria’s Democracy: Citizens’ Verdict and Outlining an Agenda for the Future,” reminded the gathering that the media is the only institution whose role as watchdog is guaranteed by the constitution.
The US Embassy Information Officer bemoaned the current declining democratic culture in most African countries, adding that the challenges the media faced appeared to be worse in Africa owing to totalitarianism and media sponsorship.
In his key-note address, the President of NGE, Mustapha Isah said though the constitution gave the media enormous responsibility to hold the government accountable to the people, he doubted if indeed, the media could be said to have performed this role creditably well.