By Umar Muhammad Puma
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has urged media owners in to take responsibility for the welfare of their employees by paying their salary and allowances as and when due.
Delivering a keynote address at the three-day capacity development training for journalists covering the House of Representatives organized by the management of the House of Representatives, Committee on Media in collaboration with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) with the support from the British Department of International Development (DFID)
Dogara who was represented by his Deputy, Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun, described the Media profession as “a noble one and one whose integrity should be protected”, adding that “as much as we all like to savour good news, things can go wrong. Mistakes, problems, errors of judgment and political controversies come along once in a while and with them can come media attention”.
”May I appeal to the proprietors of media organisations to endeavour to pay salaries and other entitlements of their staff. It is the only ethical and proper thing to do. Yes, you are watchdogs of the society. That also places a huge burden on you to act in an exemplary manner”, Dogara said.
The Speaker also tasked journalists on the need to uphold the principle of objectivity, saying that “objectivity should be the sole of the business of the press, especially when reporting the Legislature”.
“It is important that the happenings and events in the Legislature are properly reported to avoid public backlash that could cause discontent and misunderstanding of the intents of the Legislature at any given situation.
“The National Assembly Press Corps is responsible for reporting the National Assembly and it is important that the report from them is balanced, clear and well managed to avoid ambiguity or situations that could cause damage or disrepute to the institution. If the press does not report news from the National Assembly appropriately, then the National Assembly stands the risk of being misunderstood and criticized by their constituents and the larger society.
“The reality of the Nigerian situation is that the Legislature is statutorily empowered to serve as checks and balances to the other Arms of Government, yet, this is not fully understood by the citizenry. This therefore underscores the importance of enhancing the capacity of members of the House of Representatives Press Corps as they collaborate with the Legislature in ensuring that Legislative activities are effectively reported”, he said.
Other speakers at the event, including the House Spokesman, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, the guest lecturer, Professor Umar Pate of the Bayero University Kano and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Abdukadir Adamu all stressed the need for the observance of journalism ethics that guarantees credibility of both the Legislature and the media in Nigeria.
While Professor Pate called for more consciousness in the importance of communication and the physical health of journalists to enhance societal peace by virtue of balanced and objective mindset, the House Spokesman and the Clerk also canvassed for more Management and Leadership support for journalists covering activities of the House.