The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council hereby warns her members against assisting politicians in whatever guise to promote division and rancorous atmosphere as 2023 general elections are close to call.
In a statement signed by it’s Chairman, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, Delta State Council, a copy of which was made available to the Spectacles on Friday 18th March 2022.
The statement read, “it is disheartening to note that sensational journalism is taking the centre stage with the advent of social media; a situation that has made it difficult for society to differentiate who is a journalist from the myriad of citizen journalists or online tigers as the case may be”.
Suffice it to say that a journalist is a trained professional with requisite qualifications to practice his trade in an ethical manner that promotes peace, equity and justice in the society. That is why they are called the mirror and conscience of the society and based on this truism, the Nigerian Constitution gives backing and protection to the profession to hold government accountable while at the same time mounting surveillance on the society.
On this note, practitioners must be bound by their conscience and professional ethics and codes of conduct while discharging their statutory functions as journalists.
The recent issues bordering on endorsements of Governorship Aspirants scheming to succeed Governor Ifeanyi Okowa have been a source of concern to the Union in the State.
While we are certain that those peddling the rumours that Governor Okowa has endorsed some candidate are not members of the union, we are using this medium to warn members not to engage in such unprofessional ways of making media predictions. We want to sound it clear that the consequences of indulging in a manner not reputed for journalistic tenets will be huge and unimaginable.
As we approach an election year, journalists must desist from publishing press releases from politicians hook, line and sinker without doing thorough checks and balancing. It is unethical to do copy and paste journalism or writing news stories from unverified sources.
The Council is therefore calling on politicians to go about with campaigns of issues rather than engaging in mudslinging, and thereafter start looking for journalists to engage to clean up their mess.
Any politician that is worth his or her salt should rather call for a press conference, coordinated by the NUJ instead of hiding under the guise of issuing press releases that have no bearing and substance.
We wish to sound it loud and clear that the union will not stand aside and watch politicians use their Facebook media aids to disparage our noble profession by pasting worthless press releases to score cheap points. We may be left with no other option but to blacklist such politicians who have engaged non-professional journalists to manage their media activities.
We will help the government to sustain the atmosphere of peace and serenity in anticipation for the forthcoming elections in the State. What we will not allow is a situation where politicians will create crisis and then blame it on the media.