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Safeguard Nigeria’s democracy, Gbajabiamila urges journalists

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged the media to safeguard the country’s democracy by being unbiased, objective and professional in their…

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has urged the media to safeguard the country’s democracy by being unbiased, objective and professional in their reportage, especially as Nigeria inches towards the 2023 general elections.

He made the call on Saturday during a capacity-building workshop organised by his office for members of the House of Representatives Press Corps with the theme: “Deepening legislative knowledge through critical reporting.”

He said the media play a significant role in society, adding that democracy will not survive long without a vibrant, independent, innovative and patriotic press.  

Gbajabiamila urged journalists to ensure that the exercise of state and economic power through their reportage is fair and proper and in service of the greater good.

The speaker added: “Unfortunately, far from giving voice to the aspirations of our nation or holding the powerful properly to account, sections of journalism in Nigeria have become an endless pursuit of clickbait through the careless writing of falsehoods and malicious publication of half-truths. 

“I understand the commercial pressures that result in such outcomes. However, you will agree with me that this too has led to the devaluation of the press and the media in the eyes of the public. We can all do better. And we are obliged to try, especially in this defining moment in our nation’s history when the choices we make today will determine if we get to have a country and what kind of country we get to have.”

In his goodwill message, Clerk to the House of Representatives, Dr Yahaya Danzaria, while acknowledging the important role the media play in the country, cautioned against sensationalism.

The workshop featured sessions on the topics: “The role of the Nigerian Media in National Development: The legislative perspective” by Olusegun Adeniyi; “9th Assembly: Role of the media in the attainment of legislative agenda” by Rep Henry Nwawuba and “Reportage in the age of social media: Facts vs fiction (balancing news speed and accuracy in reporting the legislature)” by Tolu Ogunlesi.