By Joseph Edegbo –
As the nation warms up for electioneering campaigns, the Media has been tasked to always strive to be professional by putting the national interest first above individual or group interest.
A lecturer at Mass Communication Department, Kaduna Polytechnic, Ahmed Balarabe Sa’id gave the charge in a paper titled “Media Role In Political Campaigns, Election and Aftermath” delivered at Award /Lecture ceremony organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kaduna State Council.
He said the media’s normative role in midwifing the electoral narrative before, during and after the process was not in doubt, just as its capacity to discharge same was hardly contestable .
What might therefore be of interest , he observed, is what the Media or its practitioners identify as their overriding interest
He explained that while it is fair to expect that the media should be fair, accurate and balanced in its coverage and reporting, it is even more demanding that, the media should not be inclined to partisanship.
“The constitutional normative and social responsibility roles given the media, in addition to the existing canons and codes of practice are sufficient for the media to effectively midwife democracy.
“It is a challenge we should all be concerned about. As another season of election approaches, the task is to consistently remind ourselves of the clarion call imposed by these principles and be guided by them in the interest of deepening and sustaining our democracy through quality campaigns, credible elections and peaceful, acceptable outcomes, consequently.
‘” It is a mandate we are bound to pursue and deliver, greater than the mandate politicians will ask from electorates, and we should be duty bound and determined to deliver on it.
The Nigerian media is older than Nigeria and our entire electoral history.
“While politicians lead by their constitutional tenure, the media leads Nigeria permanently and completely. “In closing, I will appeal that the media should justify its special title as the Fourth Estate of the Realm by leading our country to the path of righteousness, keeping its conscience at vigil and immune to the sympathy of any political coloration or primordial interest”, Sa’id concludes.