By Ahmad Deedat Zakari
The Nigerian media industry has adopted a new mechanism to address ethical and professional problems in the industry.
The decision was an aftermath of a media roundtable organized on Monday, 21st November, 2022.
The amalgam of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Broadcasting Association of Nigeria ( BON) and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) came together to arrive at the resolution.
Media leaders and operators at the roundtable noted that the success of the co-regulation would be attainable via a workable enforcement mechanism.
According to them, co-regulation is attainable when the Nigeria Press Organization (NPO), comprising NPAN, NGE, NUJ and BON work together to make the co-regulation system effective. This will be done through the establishment of the ombudsman at local and central levels.
This is contained in a communique issued at the end of the media roundtable convened within the context of the imperative of a strategic response to the challenge of institutionalizing self-regulatory mechanisms by the media for the media.
The communique was jointly signed by the president, NPAN/NPO, Mal. Kabiru A. Yusuf, FNGE, president, NGE, Mustapha Isah, president, NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, MFR, president, GOCOP, Maureen Chigbo and the executive secretary, BON, Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose
The communique noted that measures must be put in place to avoid the creation of bureaucratic structures that may have high-cost implications and hinders the efficient operation of the ombudsman.
The communique reads in part:
“That sanctions for the violation of ethical codes and professional standards shall be determined by the Ombudsman, guided by the regulation.
“That media professional bodies and associations shall partner with media organisations to give wide publicity to the decisions of the Ombudsman,” the communique stated.
On the revised Code of Ethics of Journalists in Nigeria, the communique noted that a bill of rights would be incorporated into the revised code to address concerns over some industry practices that tend to undermine the welfare and safety of journalists.
The communique also said: “That the revised code shall protect investigative journalism by making the public interest exception to instances where undercover methods may be used to obtain information.
“That the revised code shall distinguish between paid content and editorial content to preserve editorial integrity; and a new clause would be inserted to obligate journalists to promote the right of the people to know, freedom of the press and responsibility.”