By KINGSLEY OKOH, Lagos
Towards strengthening the Media role to navigate the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, The National Broadcasting Commission, (NBC) and Foremost Institute of Media Society, (IMS) have tasked journalist and broadcasters to be well resourced in mobilising the populace with credible information while covering the pandemic and enhancing democratic participation in Nigeria.
IMS made this known at a webinar presentation held in Zoom with the theme; Broadcasting Policy Direction and Industry Responses in the Covid19 context.
Speaking at the IMS presentation, Acting Director-General of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, said the theme is reflective of the architectural framework of NBC and broadcasting operatives to seek regulatory support by joining efforts to tackle the Covid19 pandemic.
According to him, Covid19 came at a point when there was no existing policy and framework for broadcasting operatives to manage and report the business crisis impact of the scourge on the Nigerian Economy.
He noted that the review and amendment to the broadcasting code coincided at a point they were reviewing the Broadcasting law while he noted that the initial response to the pandemic was an intervention imbued on the expectation of the Broadcasting industry to swing into action and address issues of national emergency.
While expressing his views at the IMS webinar session, Idachaba noted that broadcasters were least prepared in terms of meeting with the challenges of tackling the covid 19 pandemic with emergency response.
He said the broadcasters were least prepared to face the challenging times in reporting the pandemic adding that the national emergency took them off guard with little preparations for it.
Covid-19 has indeed showed that the broadcast media needs to be well resourced both in terms of material and personnel to mobilise the populace towards positive behavioural changes while stressing that the broadcast media along with the print should play a dynamic role in the process.
He further said broadcasters must be committed to covering the pandemic with visibility, attention and particularly ensuring that the informative side of the pandemic in the Covid19 context is not breached.
Also Speaking at IMS presentation Director-general Institute of Media Society, Dr. Akin Akingbulu said, broadcasting regulators are responding to the emergency caused by the pandemic while he added that it was a shared vision to collaborate with the European Union to support and collaborate with Nigeria on the development of broadcasting and democratic practices.
In thesame vein, Mr. Lanre Arogundade of International Press Centre, (IPC) noted that consideration should be given to the new review of the exorbitant licensing regime in the industry while he urged mainstream media to invest more in the provision of equipment that allows Journalist to operate from safe distances in times of crisis like this.