COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 2021 BIENNIAL CONVENTION OF THE NIGERIAN GUILD OF EDITORS HELD AT TAHIR GUEST PALACE, KANO, FROM 30TH MAY – 2ND JUNE 2021
June 10, 2021
Preamble: The Nigerian Guild of Editor’s 2021 Biennial Convention with the theme: The Media in the Covid-19 Era: Challenges and Opportunities held in Kano between Monday May 30th and June 2nd 2021 with over 300 delegates, fellows of the guild and a crème of invited guests from across the country in attendance. After the successful completion of the convention where it also elected officers to marshal its activities for the next two years the Guild issued the following communiqué:-
- The Guild observes the need for the Nigerian mass media to exercise their freedom to operate freely with a sense of responsibility; noting that considering the spikes in the levels of insecurity across the length and breadth of the country, it was high time for the media to set the agenda and lead the country’s drive to sustaining national cohesion;
- While observing Nigeria’s consistent retrogression in the Global Press Freedom Index since 2005, the Guild notes that it is worrisome that the slide is happening in a democracy whereby the Guild has had cause in recent times to issue three press statements on the threats of closure and imposition of fines on some broadcast stations by the National Broadcasting Commission;
- It therefore calls on the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, expunge, repeal or amend as may be appropriate, all sections of the country’s existing media laws that are inimical to press freedom but the Guild urges editors and journalists to in all their practice engagements subscribe to and uphold to the code of ethics as developed by the Nigerian Press Organization (NPO);
- The Guild further notes that under the Covid-1 9 pandemic and the emergent realities of the new media threats and challenges, there has been significant drop in the media businesses’ revenues, hence the need for the media managers and captains of the industry to evolve strategic response actions including diversification, designing of a dynamic management system, producing innovative contents, restructuring their production technologies and adapting new funding and business models;
- Considering that the role of information dissemination by the mass media is an essential public and social service, the Guild calls on government to consider mitigating the media’s operational costs and economic challenges, more so performing under the straits of the Covid-19 pandemic, by floating a national media subsidy regime including tax holidays and waivers, lifting of license fees for the broadcast media and the offsetting of debts government agencies owed the print and broadcast media in the country;
- While frowning at the prevalence and massive elevation of fake news, disinformation and propaganda due to the mishandlings of the social media and other online and digital media platforms, the Guild harps on the need for Nigeria’s media publics, particularly the youth whom the media must carry along, to use, decipher and rely on the conventional media for their feeds on credible information;
- And as the Guild observes the penchant and tenacity of the Nigerian journalists generally to support the development and nurturing of democracy in the country regardless of the obvious challenges and threats facing them, therefore, the Guild calls for retrospections on part of both the public and the private media operators to lift the media out of the current dangers by devising measures inclusive of guaranteed welfare and insurance schemes for the safety and security of lives of the journalists working for them;
- Against the backdrop of the assailing new media trends, the Guild highlights on the essence of the training and retraining of the Nigerian journalists to update their knowledge, skills and expertise of the profession with a view to attaining the needed proficiency and competencies that are required to overcome the new media tides pulling the profession;
- While drawing the attention of the federal government to its mandatory responsibility of securing the country and the citizenry and to the need to deepen the diversification of the Nigerian economy, the Guild also advises the state governments to harness their comparative economic advantages as the means to boosting their revenue bases in the light of today’s economic realities;
- While commending their host, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for keeping Kano state safe even in the midst of the prevailing insecurity in some parts of the country, the editors also appreciate the state government’s phenomenal drive to infrastructural development as well as Governor Ganduje’s determination to change Kano’s face to rhyme with the outlook of a modern city.
- The NGE also expresses appreciation to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and members of the State Executive Council for graciously hosting the convention and for their demonstration of the state’s uncommon culture of hospitality.
- The Guild also thanks the state’s Honourable Commissioner for Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba for his support and facilitation and the Local Organizing Committee, chaired by Dr Sule Yau Sule for making the editor’s four-day stay in Kano a very memorable experience.