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The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, has warned editors and media practitioners in Nigeria against playing up or propagating publications that could endanger peace and national security as well as undermine the unity of the country.
He gave this on Thursday advice at the opening ceremony of the 18th All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC) 2022, in Owerri, Imo State.
The two-day conference has as theme ‘2023: Political Landscape, Credible Elections and the Role of Editors.’
Uzodimma said the role of editors is critical to the success of the 2023 elections and urged them as the main gatekeepers to focus more on national rather than on proprietorial interests.
He also condemned some journalists for failing to discharge their duties responsibly.
‘I am not asking that you should not report the facts but how you report the facts matters a lot and can make the difference. As editors, you have a patriotic duty to manage these sacred facts for the ultimate good of our dear nation. As leaders of media, you have a duty to restrain your institutions from speculating on the results of the elections. As editors, distance yourself from pecuniary interests and be guided instead by national interest.
‘I am horrified to admit that some sections of the press have been at the forefront of inflaming passion in Nigeria through their sensational and combative posturing in the name of dissemination of information.
‘Your primary duties are to inform, educate and entertain, but in the exhibition of this huge responsibility, some journalists have sacrificed objectivity and allowed themselves to be taken captive by emotional, tribal and religious privileges.’
He said Imo State was peaceful contrary to the ‘jaundiced narrative’ circulating mostly on social media.
Former president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo, in his lecture charged Nigeria journalists to brace up to the challenges of sustaining the country’s democracy.
He described editors as authors of reforms and therefore urged them to play a major role in the political transition of the country in 2023.
Hammering on the theme of the conference ‘2023, political landscape, credible elections and the role of editors’ the former Minister of Information and Culture tasked editors to arise and defend the country.
Nwodo listed the scrutiny of the judiciary, failure of the Nigeria police as areas editors should focus to enable the country sustain its democracy.