By G9ija

From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano

Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has observed that the syndrome of breaking news is seriously hampering the ethics of journalism profession.

Ganduje opined that the undue urge of who breaks the news first, brew undue competition which push some journalists to throw away the ethics and report unverifiable stories to the detriment of the noble profession.

Ganduje spoke in Kano while declaring open the two-day Special Delegates Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), with the theme: “Conflict-sensitive Reporting And Nigerian Journalism.”

He was the Special Guest of Honour.

Ganduje further urged the NUJ to take a second look at the breaking news syndrome with its negative effects affecting the journalism profession.

He decried a situation where journalists unnecessarily competed with each other on who broke the news first, insisting that such should not be an avenue where harm would be caused, as professional considerations were being jettisoned.

He, however, hinted that Kano State Government, under his administration, has trained over 1000 automechanic Engineers to enable them handle present-day vehicles in the state.

According to him, the training followed a research conducted by the state government which found that most of the automechanic engineers in the state were roadside Engineers.

Ganduje added that the state government signed an agreement with the Peugeot Automobile Training Centre, Kaduna,to train the mechanics.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari would inaugurate 500 of the trained automechanic Engineers, as other 500 trained before now, were already self-employed.

In his remarks,the state Commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs, Malam Muhammad Garba, described Governor Ganduje as a media-friendly Governor in view of his commitment to the enhancement of the welfare of journalists and the Journalism profession.

Malam Garba, who was two-term President of NUJ, stated that Ganduje’s has done more than enough to enhance the growth of the profession in the state, citing the equipping of the state-owned media – the Abubakar Rimi Television and Radio Kano, as well as the reopening and revitalization of the Triumph Publishing Company, among other gestures.

In his address, the President of NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, who is also the Chief Host, commended Ganduje for being media-friendly.

According to him: “This occasion would have been less attractive and exciting without the financial support and participation of the Special Guest of Honour, His Excellency, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Governor of Kano State.

“Mr Governor, we shall cherish your kindness and support for a long time to come. Thank you very much Sir.
For our Delegates from across the country that braved the odds to come to Kano, we thank you for your perseverance and dedication to the cause of the Union and the Journalism profession. Thank you very much.”

He further stated that: “The theme of this Conference : Conflict Sensitive Reporting and Nigerian Journalism  is chosen primarily  given the fact that 2023 is an election year in the Country and the Media are central to the survival of our democracy.

“The feature of democracy lies in periodic and credible elections, during which mandates are either renewed or new leaders emerge. Election is therefore a tool for renewal, restoring and strengthening of the entire democratic process. The role of the Media within the system, especially against the background of professional responsibility  is germane.”

The NUJ President said: “Journalists are expected to mediate  between the contestants to political offices through fair reporting and space allocation, to educate citizens about the electoral process and the available choices of candidates, in order for the masses to make informed choices.

“One of the cardinal roles of the media is to also hold  Political Leaders Accountable through making sure that those elected into political offices understand and practice Good Governance. This is the process of measuring how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources and guarantee the realisation of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption and with due regards for the rule of law.

“In our efforts to deepen our democracy, we had planned and conducted a series of training for Journalists ahead of 2023 election, with the theme: Conflict Sensitive Reporting and the 2023 General Election in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission – INEC.

“The training which took place from November to December last year across the Six Geo-political zones of the Country, prepared Journalists on Reporting for Building of Democratic Values in the Run up to 2023  General Elections.

“This we hope will enhance the capacity of journalists to effectively report the electoral process and governance. It will also encourage  journalists to provide accurate, objective and balanced reportage of the democratic governance process so that people may have access to available opportunities that will enable them take rational decisions.”

He added that: “Our desire is also to expose journalists to the dynamics of the electoral process in such a way that their capacity to analyse the process will be enhanced and to improve their constitutional roles to hold leaders in government accountable. It is our considered opinion that what journalists write and how they write it inevitably touches on the lives of other people. It is imperative therefore for Journalists to give ethical consideration in their professional work.

“The Code of Ethics of Nigerian Journalists dates back to 1998.
The Code is outdated, not  robust enough, too general in nature as it also failed to define clearly responsibilities of the journalist and media owners. The Union is working with other Stakeholders  to review the existing Code of Ethics to reflect the nation’s current realities and to meet  International standards.

“During this Conference, Delegates will have time to amend the Constitution of the Union. The present Constitution came into effect in 2011 and going by its provisions the document should have been amended twice by now.

“Constitutions need to be amended over time to adjust provisions that
are inadequate, to respond to new needs, otherwise the text of a constitution cannot reflect professional
realities and other  needs over time. We are however  mindful of the fact that the constitution itself also needs
to be protected from short-sighted or partisan amendments.

“In furtherance of our role of effectively monitoring government activities, and working towards strengthening press freedom, reinforcing  the quality of journalism, we also intend to create time to inspect some of the projects executed or are being executed by the Kano State Government. This will enable our members to be better informed about the efforts of the State Government in carrying out its electoral promises to the people.”

The AUTHORITY reports that about 300 delegates across Nigeria, are attending the two-day conference.

The President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Malam Mukhtar Suraji was the Guest Speaker at the event, held at Afficent Event Center, Kano.