Media practitioners at a conference organised by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting to mark its 10th year anniversary in Abuja yesterday brought the issue of media sustainability in Nigeria to the front burner.
Tagged ‘Media Sustainability Conference’, participants at the event held at the Transcorp Hilton harped on the issue of financial viability and sustainability as one that media organisations grapple with daily.
Keynote speaker, Bongani Siqoko from South Africa, while speaking on ‘Sustainability Imperatives for Africa’, said for a sustainable media to be achieved it must be purpose-driven.
“Successful and sustainable organisations the world over are purpose-driven. You must define the reason (purpose) for your existence as a media organisation as well as your contribution to the development of your immediate society.
“We also have to challenge journalists to find stories of hope in the midst of negative and hopeless stories. We need to tell the rest of the world that there are opportunities even in the midst of difficulties and bad happenings,” Siqoko said.
He listed other imperatives of sustainability to include, diversification, competence, integrity and independence.
In their contributions, the panel of discussants also identified what could sustain media organisations, particularly in Nigeria.
Malam Manir Dan-Ali, a former Editor-in-chief/CEO of Media Trust Limited (owners of Daily Trust newspapers and Trust TV), who represented the chairman of the company, Malam Kabiru Yusuf, underscored the importance of transparency in doing business which, he noted, is also a factor in media sustainability.
Dan-Ali, who told the grass-to-grace story of Media Trust Limited, admonished journalists to focus on stories that give hope.
Professor Umaru Pate, Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Kashere, tasked media owners to close ranks in collaboration to push for policies that would drive collaboration.
Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika of the University of Lagos called for diversification, stressing that for independence to be maintained, media organisations must bear the interest of their audiences in producing their contents.
Earlier, ICIR Executive Director, Dapo Aiyetan, called on Nigerian government officials to stop using state institutions to hound journalists for exposing official wrongdoings through investigative reporting, but rather “see us as partners in progress.”
Aiyetan also tasked media-related bodies such as the NUJ, NGE, and NPAN to initiate what he tagged ‘a national conversation’ that would discuss the future of the media in Nigeria.