Media professionals across the country have been charged on the need to prioritise integrity as well as adhere to professional ethics in the digital age to continue to play their constitutional roles and promote national integration.
The charge was given on Wednesday by the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Kashere, Professor Umaru Pate in Kano while delivering the 2023 Annual Lecture of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) with the title: “Media, Diversity and Nigeria’s National Integration in the Digital Age”.
Pate acknowledged that policies, institutions and measures have deliberately been taken in the past to promote integration and inclusiveness, but the ability to manage these institutions have been the issue, stressing that some of the challenges currently bedevilling Nigerian unity would have been non-issues if not that pillars and structures constitutionally put in place to support integration in the country have been crookedly tinkered with.
He said the “Issue of integration and unity of Nigeria should not be seen as something that is concluded; we should not be complacent and take the unity for granted”, adding that deliberate actions in the form of efficient implementation of policies, especially as it relates to media in the digital age must be given top priority.
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Speaking on the performance of the media during the just concluded general elections, Pate said the media being like a mirror only reflects the society in which it operates and that the since the media cannot be divorced from political realities, elites’ conflicts, which is about access to resources played out in the media, many at times at the detriment of national unity and integration.
He advised that media professionals must realise that for the industry to remain relevant, it has to continuously adhere to the professional ethics and continue to be proven.
“And they should know that there is a very strong counter-force from the alternative (new) media giving them a run for their money,” he added.
Commenting shortly after the lecture, Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu, a former VC of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) stressed that integrity should be top priority for media professionals as they navigate the challenges the digital age presents to Nigeria’s diversity and national integration.
He said social media platforms, which were hitherto meant for social interaction have become news media platforms without gatekeeping and this lack of integrity for content providers, which has simmered into the traditional media have become a major challenge for the diversification and liberalisation of new media provided by the digital age.
On his part, the president of NAL, Professor Duro Oni said the Academy chose the topic for the lecture because it was of national value at the material time, especially as the country just concluded its general election with a lot of divisive contents given air space especially on the new media platforms.
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