SPEECH OF THE NGE PRESIDENT, MUSTAPHA ISAH, AT THE OPENING OF THE CONFERENCE ON JOURNALISM AND DIGITALISATION: IMPERATIVE OF GOOD CORPORATE GOVERNANCE .

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  • Posted by: Imoh Robert

PROTOCOLS

I am extremely delighted to welcome all of you to this very important conference with the theme ” JOURNALISM AND DIGITALISATION: IMPERATIVE OF GOOD CORPORATE GOVERNANCE” .

I thank you Mr Governor, for fully supporting this conference.

This conference is very important because it is about us, our noble profession and our survival.

A fact no one can deny is that, digitalisation has disrupted the way things were being done previously.  Digitalisation simply means the act of converting data or images to digital form. This has given rise to digital journalism or online media which is a contemporary form of journalism where editorial content is distributed through the internet, as opposed to publishing via print or broadcast.

The primary product of journalism, which is news and features, can now be disseminated through digital media technology. This has democratised the flow of information that was previously controlled by the traditional media.

With digital journalism, readers can now comment on articles instantly.  It also provides room for breaking news .

It is obvious that the traditional media have to adapt to digitalisation or perish.

It is good to note that the traditional media have responded to new reality  by creating their own online sites to remain competitive. They have taken the advantage of audio, video and text linking to remain at the top of the new consumers’ list through hand – held devices , such as smart- phones and tablets. I call on them to fully take advantage of media convergence by combining both print, online, radio and television. Yes, it is possible. You don’t need to own a big radio and TV station to broadcast. You can do it online.

As the traditional sources of income for the media are drying up, other sources are fast opening. It is left for us to identify these new sources and tap into them.

I want to ask a simple question: can the traditional media win the survival battle without good corporate governance?

Corporate governance is a system of rules, policies, and practices that dictate how a company’s board of directors manages and oversees the operations of the company.

Corporate governance includes the principles of accountability, transparency, fairness and responsibility.

How accountable and transparent are the media houses in Nigeria? Do we really have Board of Directors in the true sense of it? Can we really call a board made up of the friends and family members of the publisher or broadcast station owner a board? Are the media houses being fair to their workers?

The media has always demanded  accountability and good governance from those in  government. It is my hope that media owners themselves should lead  by example by embracing good corporate governance and accountability. We must practice what we preach daily. Yes, we must.

Poor corporate governance can lead to a company failing to achieve its stated goals and at worst result in the total collapse of the company. We don’t want this to happen because it will result in some of our members losing their jobs. This is why I believe this conference is coming at the right time.

There is a sub-theme titled ” JOURNALISM AND THE LAW: WHO WATCHES THE WATCHDOG?. It is to be presented by a lawyer, a Fellow of the Guild and former Provost of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Mr Gbemiga Ogunleye.

The media is never afraid of being watched or scrutinised.  But that role of scrutiny shouldn’t be performed by the government which the constitution has given us the mandate to hold accountable to the people. That’s why the Guild is not comfortable with the dominance of government appointed officials in the current regulator bodies, including the National Broadcasting that is  breathing down on the neck of broadcast stations. Government cannot be the accuser and the judge in matters in relating to it. Independent agencies should handle allegations of infractions levelled against the media by the government , and the media houses so accused  must be given the  opportunity to defend themselves. The NBC that reports to the Minister of Information doesn’t have the capacity and the freedom to dispense justice the broadcast stations. 

This sub – theme was included in order to seek stakeholders’ input in  the new regulatory framework we are currently working on.

Once again, I thank you Mr Governor for personally attending this event , in addition to fully supporting it.

On this note , I welcome all of us to this event, and I look forward to fruitful deliberation.

Author: Imoh Robert

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