The Nigerian Senate President Ahmad Lawan has described the journalism profession in the country as a sinking ship and attributed its fall to series of unprofessional conducts of Journalists.
Lawan spoke at a journalists’ retreat in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital and cautioned practitioners of the profession to be watchful of its perceived submerging ship.
Senator Lawan was represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs Senator Ajibola Basiru and said the ship of journalism in Nigeria needs to be re-navigated properly along the routes of professionalism and objectivity in preventing it from capsizing.
“The Ship of Journalism is sinking and it is sinking very fast and something drastic has to be done before it capsizes totally, ” he said.
According to him, unprofessional conducts like brown envelope journalism, preference for sensationalism as against news substance, news buying are the reasons behind the drop in standard of Journalism in the country.
Sensationalism he explained, should not be equated with serving as a watchdog as accordimg to him, it not only erodes the credibility of the media, but also create doubts about the quest of the media for accountability and responsibility of the government.
“It is therefore imperative for the press to rededicate itself to proper investigative journalism with necessary thoroughness that is focused 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,” he said
He noted that if the media as the watchdog of happenings in the society, performs its role as enshrined in the Constitution, the country would have surmounted the menace of institutionalized corruption to a very reasonable extent .
The lawmaker believes re-orientation, training and capacity building, focusing on substance as well as revisiting professionalism and reforming the code of professional ethics will help steer the profession to the right direction.
By Abel Ejikeme