The Senate has warned that journalism in Nigeria was fast becoming a sinking ship unless urgent and coordinated efforts are made to save the noble profession.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central), made the observation in a lecture at the 2020 Retreat of the Senate Press Corps (SPC) held at the Kogi State Government House in Lokoja during the weekend.
Senator Basiru, who also represented the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said series of unprofessional conduct of journalists were sinking the ship of the noble profession.
Senator Basiru in a paper he delivered in his capacity as the Senate spokesman, entitled
“Governance: How Watchful Are The Watchdogs In Ensuring Accountability and Transparency?”, said the ship of journalism in Nigeria needed to be steered properly along the routes of professionalism and objectivity in preventing it from capsizing irredeemable.
“The ship of journalism is sinking and it is sinking very fast and something drastic has to be done before its total capsize,” Basiru noted.
According to him, unprofessional conducts like brown envelope journalism, sensationalism, commercialisation of news, among other unethical practices, are the responsible for the sinking ship of journalism in the country.
“It is, therefore, imperative for the press to rededicate itself to proper investigative journalism with necessary thoroughness that focus on substance of findings in relation to inefficiency, waste, corruption, mismanagement and/or misappropriation being exposed.
“Corruption and bad leadership in and among the Nigerian press have escalated professional compromise which are basically unethical and subjective journalism,” the lawmaker said.
The Senate spokesman posited that if the media as the watchdog of the society, particularly within the public sector, performs its role as provided in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the country would have surmounted the menace of institutionalised corruption to a large extent.
He, therefore, advocated value re-orientation, training and capacity-building, focus on substance as against sensationalism, professionalism and code of ethics for practitioners, among others, as way out of the current mess in which the profession has found itself.
The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Arc. Olatunde Ojo was represented at the event while Kogi Senators – Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West) and Senator Yakubu Oseni (APC, Kogi Central) attended the retreat and delivered goodwill messages.