BENIN – (FIC Benin Report) – The Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Mansur Liman (Dr) at the opening ceremony of the 2018 FRCN South-South Zonal News Summit with the theme: “2019 General Election – Tackling Fake News and Hate Speech Through Responsive Political Broadcast” has charged journalist to be professional in the discharge of their duties.
The Director General, who was represented at the event by the Director of Finance, Mike Oluwole (Pastor) charged journalists in the South-South Zone to get acquainted with the FRCN Political Reporting Guidelines and the NBC Code to ensure professionalism and effective coverage of the coming 2019 General Elections. He described the Summit as very appropriate, especially with the 2019 General Elections fast approaching.
He also frowned at the emergence of fake news and hate speech dominating the social media and posing the serious challenges that are confronting the media industry. He noted that this has demanded the FRCN to develop its political reporting guidelines to checkmate such acts. Liman urged the staff to operate in line with the profession’s code of ethic and uphold the motto of the corporation which is “uplifting the people and uniting the nation”.
The South-South Zonal Director, Jonas Emechebe (Dr) in his welcome address stressed that the Summit was geared towards improving the skills of reporters ahead of the 2019 General Elections and addressing perceived challenges.
Speaking on the ways of making a diligent and professional political reporter, the Zonal Director of Ibadan National Station, Mohammed Bello charged reporters to be passionate and always uphold the integrity of the Corporation. He admonished them to be knowledgeable about party constitutions during the 2018 Nigerian Media Election Coverage, while tasking them to make their safety paramount.
Also remarking, the Zonal Director of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, Tony Anigala charged journalists to always ensure balance in their political coverage and remain non-partisan in the discharge of their duties. Anigala condemned the attitude of commercializing political news, stressing that media stations should give equal access to all political heavy weights.
While giving a review of Radio Nigeria’s coverage of the 2015 General Election, the Special Adviser to the Director General, Haruna Idiris emphasized the need for management and journalists to embrace modern technologies that would enhance their performance and ensure effective coverage. He highlighted some recurring challenges during elections to include: lack of resources and use of antiquated equipments, reiterating the need to involve staffers from other departments in the coverage of elections.
The Guest Speaker, who is the Head of the Mass Communication Department in the University of Benin, Ambrose Uchenunu (Dr) in his speech traced the emergence of fake news and hate speeches to the advent of the Internet. He warned journalists to always carry out a comprehensive investigation before broadcast.
The Summit was attended by the Management Committee of FRCN South-South Zone and selected reporters from the region.