Monday, November 28, 2022

Journalists shouldn’t behave like kingmakers; they’re public messengers: Garba Shehu

Mr Shehu emphasised that the mission will require journalists subjecting themselves to public scrutiny.

• November 22, 2022
Garba Shehu
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu (Credit: Facebook)

Garba Shehu, a media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, says that journalists should not portray themselves as kingmakers as they are messengers working for the public.

Mr Shehu said this at the 2022 World Television Day, organised by the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) on Monday in Lagos.

“Who is a journalist? A journalist is an errand boy; a messenger of the public, sent out there to ask questions on behalf of the public,” Mr Shehu asserted. “You are not a kingmaker; are we desirous to contribute to national development? We do not have to behave arrogantly. By training, we go out on behalf of the public.”

Mr Shehu emphasised that the mission will require journalists subjecting themselves to public scrutiny.

“We subject individuals, institutions and governments to public scrutiny; it is for us as journalists, whether we are television producers, talk show hosts.

“The main aim is to subject ourselves to the same public scrutiny to which we subject others.

“That is how we can make television better and bring it to the service of the country,” he said.

He also said that there was a need for training and retraining of media practitioners following advances being made in the country.

According to him, recruitment into mass communication, journalism, should reflect the country’s advances in terms of education, and in that case, people with necessary capabilities.

Mr Shehu said, “Training needs to be brought in and of course, they must in the course of this training, be equipped with the necessary ingredients of national patriotism, to love and rally around the flag,” he said.

Also, Chairman, Channels Media Group, John Momoh, said that in rethinking television for Nigeria’s political, economic and security advancement, patriotism and guiding principles of journalism – accuracy, balance, truth should be upheld.

Mr Momoh was represented by the Assistant General Manager Operations, Channels Television, Kingsley Uranta.

“There has to be the interest of national security in handling certain sensitive information professionally, particularly when they are given to you in confidence.

“This is critical because if deep thinking and sense are not applied, the nation may collapse.

“Also, no patriotic Nigerian, a journalist, politician, labour leader nor retired politician, will want the country to depreciate because of improper handling of information.

“However, the media must interrogate politicians, government and even citizens on issues that concern the country; government officials must be asked the tough questions and held to account,” he said.

In his remarks, Chairman, Lagos State Chapter, RATTAWU, Ismail Adejumo, said that the aim of the event was to sensitise RATTAWU members so that their mindsets would be geared towards promoting national unity and development.

“We need to step up our game in broadcast sector.

“That is why RATTAWU is taking the lead to bring all stakeholders together so that we can further strategise and brainstorm on how television can become more relevant.

“Not just that, but it will be a very good tool for mass communication,” Mr Adejumo said. 

(NAN)

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