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Industry leaders, meet, adopt self-regulatory framework for media practice in Nigeria

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The Nigerian media industry has adopted the new co-regulation and code of ethics to address ethical and professional concerns in the industry.

The decision was reached at the end of a media roundtable organised on Monday, November 14 by the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) in conjunction with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), and the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP).

Media chiefs and operators at the roundtable also noted that the success of the co-regulation would be achieved via a workable enforcement mechanism.

To achieve co-regulation, the Nigeria Press Organisation (NPO) comprising NPAN, NGE, and NUJ, along with BON, would work together to make the co-regulation system effective, particularly 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 institutionalising self-regulatory mechanisms by the media for the media.

Signed by Feyi Smith, Executive Secretary, the communique was jointly signed by the President, NPAN/NPO, Kabiru A. Yusuf, President, NGE, Mustapha Isah, President, NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, President, GOCOP, Maureen Chigbo and the Executive Secretary, BON, Yemisi Bamgbose.

The communique noted that efforts must be made to avoid the creation of bureaucratic structures that may have high-cost implications and therefore constitute obstacles to 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.”

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.

It added: “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.”

The roundtable had two technical sessions in which presentations were made on “Pathway to Co-regulation through an Ombudsman Framework”.

Speaking at the event, the Editor-in-Chief/Senior Vice Chairman of LEADERSHIP  Group Limited, Azu Ishiiekwene, based his presentation on the report of the committee of the NPO comprising NPAN, NGE and NUJ instituted in May 2021.

The committee was mandated to develop a framework for a generally acceptable, workable, and trusted self-regulatory platform for the industry, both at the local and central levels.

The second presentation was on “A Guide through the Revised Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists” by the editor-in-chief, Diamond Publications/founder of the Diamond Awards For Media Excellence (DAME) Trust Fund, Lanre Idowu.

While the revision of the existing code was predicated on the observation that the existing 1998 code is “outdated, not robust enough, and too general in nature,” the committee was mandated to develop a framework for a generally acceptable, workable, and trusted self-regulatory platform for the industry, both at the local and central levels.

The round table is coming against the background of attacks on press freedom and media independence including through legislation by the government following the wrong perception that the media is unwilling to regulate itself; the poor state of compliance with ethical and professional standards by some journalists and editors; and the pollution of the information sphere by disinformation and misinformation.

The aim of the roundtable, attended by eminent media leaders, supported by Daria Media and the MacArthur Foundation, was to obtain media stakeholders’ buy-in of the Ombudsman framework and the revised Code of Ethics of Journalists in Nigeria.

 

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Lagos court orders prison remand of Olaleye, 57, over child defilement case

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For Olufemi Olaleye, the days and hours have started counting from prison, where he would have to reside for now on the orders of Justice Ramon Oshodi of the Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court, for alleged sexual offences on a minor.

Olaleye, 57, proprietor of Founder of Optimal Cancer Care Foundation, Lagos, was remanded after he took his plea in the two-count child defilement and sexual assault by penetration preferred against him by the Lagos State Government case involving of his wife’s 15-year-old niece.

The medical doctor, who pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him and was granted bail of N50m with two sureties in like sum, had remained in the news for the wrong reasons since his case broke with public outrage and over his alleged molestation of the girl for over two years.

The Lagos State Government promptly stepped into the case to ensure justice is served, following intensive pressure mounted by many Nigerians, including veteran actress Kate Henshaw, who not only called him out but championed the demand for his prosecution.

In his defence, the medical doctor, who claimed that the allegations against him were false, malicious and a set-up, had said specifically: “My name and organisation are in the news and on social media for all the wrong reasons. I think I may have underestimated the situation and thought it was a domestic issue which my wife and those encouraging her to destroy our home have weaponised. “I have now decided to fight against the false and malicious allegations and of course what now looks like set-up/blackmail.”

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Ikpeazu takes battle to criminals in Abia *You’re ‘police most friendly Governor’ – IG

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Okezie Ikpeazu, Governor of Abia State, has promised hard times for criminals, who might decide to remain in the state, henceforth, as he has decided to take the battle to them  in his renewed resolve to make the state safe for citizens.

At the commissioning and handing over of the brand new Eastern Ngwa Divisional Police Headquarters Building Umuobiakwa,Obingwa LGA, constructed by his government, Ikpeazu made it clear that his administration placed the highest premium on security of lives and property as the bedrock of sustainable development.

Warning that criminals would no longer find any hiding place in the state, he Ikpeazu was full of praises for the hard work and cooperation of the Service Commanders of the various security services in the state, saying officers and men of the Nigerian police, had continuously shown selflessness in their operations.

Ikpeazu, who harged the Inspector General of Police to continue to encourage them for optimal performance, particularly recalled that his administration completed and handed over the brand new Zone 9 Police Headquarters Umuahia to the Nigerian Police as part of his contribution to the safety of the people and assured that it would continue to provide logistics to security agencies to enable them discharge their duties effectively.

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He disclosed that the cordial working relationship between government and security agencies has yielded positive results adding that the prevailing peace in the state is attributable to the robust working relationship with all security agencies in the state.

Inspector General of Police Alkali Baba Usman, who commissioned the new building, while describing it as being up of International standard, was particularly happy about the provision of 24 hours power which he said would aide the job of the police.

Eulogising the governor, whom he said, had through the facility brought motivation and encouragement to the Nigerian police, he promised that his men would justify the gesture with improved performance, thanking him also for bequeathing to the Zone 9 Police Headquarters Umuahia.

Acknowledging that the structure now represented a permanent and modern office accommodation of International standard and for launching an ICT-driven security architecture in line with international best practices, the IG said the Governor had through the gesture entered the “Guinness Record Book” as Police most friendly Governor,” charging his men to protect and defend the facility as their own.

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In their goodwill messages, the Chairman, Obingwa LGA Mrs Uloma Nwogu, the Chairman, Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers,Eze Joseph Nwabeke and Chief Ike Onyenweaku congratulated the Governor on his developmental projects across the state including the security of lives and property of the citizenry and expressed optimism that he would do more in the Senate come 2023.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had earlier handed over the newly built DPO Quarters, Umuobiakwa to the IGP and was witnessed by the AIG Zone 9 Umuahia Isaac Akinmoyede ,State Commissioner of Police, Mr Muhammad Bala while the IGP later commissioned the newly completed one storey edifice for the Ubakala Divisional Police Headquarters Umuahia and the Special Protection Unit Building at Zone 9 Headquarters Umuahia witnessed by other Service Commanders ,the Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem, Chief of Staff to the Governor Chief Okey Ahiwe  amongst others.

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Cultism: Security cordon on campuses by police after shooting of student in Calabar

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Operatives of the Cross River Police Command have thrown a security cordon within and around the University of  Cross River (UNICROSS, to prevent escalation, following the resurgence of cult activities, which the authorities fear could spread.

Spokesman of the command,  Irene Ugbo, a Superintendent of Police (SP) who confirmed that the incident happened on Monday, said it involved a final year student of the institution, who was attacked and by the cult group and was presently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Calabar.

Attributing the shooting to cult-related activities in the campus, she said the police were working to bring those involved in the fracas to book, adding that contrary to the rumours making the rounds, the student shot during the incident was not dead.

“We are monitoring him in an undisclosed facility, and he has also shared some useful information with us. The victim is also a cultist, and you know the position of the police on the issue of cultism. We detest mob action and won’t allow anyone to create fear or disrupt the peace within the metropolis and in the state at large,” she said.

Meanwhile, investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) revealed that the victim was shot on the leg, following the invasion of the school by a cult group.

NAN also gathered that he was targeted for elimination over his alleged refusal to relinquish a certain position in his confraternity (Black Axe).

He was, however, rescued by men of Anti-cultism and Kidnapping Squad of the police command who had responded promptly to a distress call, the reports said, adding that penultimate Tuesday, there was protest by students of the university over the level of insecurity, especially robbery, on the campus.

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