Save journalism from dying, Osinbajo tells editors

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has charged editors in media establishments to cleanse the journalism profession of unethical and corrupt practices.

Prof. Osinbajo said this, yesterday, at the ongoing 14th All Nigeria Editors’ conference in Asaba, Delta State.

The vice president spoke on ‘The end of the profession,’ wherein he said unethical practices have created credibility crisis in journalism, to the extent that the profession is seriously being threatened.

“The duty of the leaders of the profession is to make personal sacrifices to save the profession. What is the point of the Guild if we cannot call out the corrupt and unethical practices, if we cannot surgically remove the bad eggs in the interest of the profession and in the interest of our own earning?

“When a threat is existential, the response must be radical, otherwise, we really may not have a profession. We may really be presiding over something that we are making ourselves believe exist when it has really disappeared,” he said.

Osinbajo said, although technological innovation poses grave threats to many professions, including Law, journalism and accounting, journalism practitioners are more culpable to the dying credibility and integrity on the field.

“Over time, we have lost the trust of our public. What do people want? They want truthful information, they want objectivity, they want clear analysis of issues of the economy, law, social sciences.

“Time was when someone will say I read it in Daily Times. It was the closest thing to scriptures. Today, skeptics will ask you who sponsored the story. Most of the investigative reports is done by the ubiquitous blogs and online medium.

“The likes of Tell, Newswatch, The News and others that told the big story have all gradually disappeared. A Guild is the society of gatekeepers. To you belongs the enormous task of defining the ethics, norms, ethos of the profession.

“Upon you is the burden of setting the acceptable roles, conventions and practices of the profession. But, this burden is made greater in a society where corruption is systemic and where there is constant fight to deal with systemic corruption,” said Osinbajo.

He added that social media has become the preferred source of news for the people, and that unregulated online platforms can be owned and managed by “everybody and anybody who dishes out any information and that journalism has always been at great risks, with the right to Freedom of Information, adding however that there were financial and regulatory restrictions, which are, today, no more.

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