A three – day workshop on the Line Editor as a Gate Keeper was held at the Peninsula Resort, Epe Express Road, Ajah Lagos from 9th to 12th April, 2006. About 150 participants attended the workshop which was organized by the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), as the second part of a tripartite series of training programmes aimed at enhancing the moral tone and professional excellence of the Nigerian Press.
2. Participants at the workshop included News, Features, Politics and Business Editiors; Selected Media Executives; Representatives of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigerian, Information Managers; Foreign Affairs; the Academia and the general public.
(i) The National Assembly should be encouraged to pass the Nigerian Press Council Bill, so as to give the NPC the strength and effectiveness it needs to more efficiently discharge its corporate responsibilities.
ii. There should be better understanding between the government and the media on matters of national interest as articulated in Chapter Two of the 1999 Constitution;
iii. It was agreed that beat journalism should be allowed to exist. However the unionization of such beats should be discouraged.
iv. There should also be better understanding between the media and the security agencies, ways and means of achieving that goal should be explored with minimum delay;
v. Criticisms by the media should be constructive, devoid of praise-singing and other unwholesome practices which debase the profession;
vi. It was also agreed that the Nigerian journalists should be given access to information by public office holders;
vii. Owners of journalism training institutions should step up the funding and provision of equipment to ensure that their products meet the demands of the industry;
v. Educational Institutions should be encouraged to improve the quality of their graduates and employers should endeavour to provide on-the job training for new entrants to the profession and their senior colleagues;
vi. Participants expressed the desire that such an event should be organized every quarter so as to sharpen the professional skills and productivity to media practitioners;
vii. The wages of journalists should be improved and regular, salaries assured as a realistic safeguard against unethical practices;
viii. Line Editors should be properly equipped top enable them access information promptly and faithfully to guarantee authoritative reporting and promote investigative journalism in the public interest;
ix. Government should exempt media organizations from the payment of the Value Added Tax (VAT) as a way of making information more cheaply accessible to the generality of Nigerians;
x. In view of the importance of the style book in maintain high professional standards, news organizations should properly induct new entrants on the proper use of their style books and ensure that this strictly adhered to;
xi. Members of the public should be bold enough to report cases of corruption by the media to the appropriate agencies for the necessary disciplinary action and finally;
xii. We condemn the practice whereby journalism bodies and organizations including newspapers confer awards to selected individuals outside the profession and recommend that the unwholesome practice should be discontinued forthwith.
4. The workshop expressed gratitude to the Hon. Minister Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr. Not only for honouring the workshop with his presence, but also for presenting a formidable keynote address.
5. The workshop finally thanked the Federal Government for making funds available to the Nigerian Press Council which enabled the Council convene the workshop.
6. The workshop noted with respect the Honourable Minister’s assurance not only to call a Stakeholders meeting, but also to study and implement its recommendations.
7. It also extended appreciation to the Federal Legislature especially the Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba; the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. John Halims Agoda; and the Chairman House Committee on Media and Public Affairs Hon. Abike Dabiri – for their support and presence at the workshop.
Tunde O. Thompson Ndagene Akwu
(for: Rapporteurs) NUJ President
Godwin Omole Halilu Baba Dantiye,
Executive Secretary (NPC) President Nigerian Guild of Editors
Haj Alade Odunewu
Nigerian Press Council