Oyo info summit: Charting new course for information management, dissemination
The need for the media to be extra sensitive at this period in order not to push people to violence or any acts that can jeopardize the peace and stability of the nation was the focus of a recent two-day information summit organized by the Oyo State government for stakeholders in the media sector.
It was a summit unlike previous ones as it focused on means of strengthening the information and communication network of government and making the media as veritable partners in the sustainable development of Nigeria especially Oyo State
The summit themed, “Managing Information & Communications: the Catalyst for Sustainable Development” which attracted stakeholders from the media sector and from other diverse fields, has sub-themes which includes “Language Use in Communication”, “Everybody is a Journalist: The Implication of Digital Media” and “Journalism Profession: Ethics, Values and Conducts – A Legal Perspective” and the keynote address was delivered by the Former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Former Editorial Board Chairman of Guardian Newspaper, Dr Reuben Abati.
Also present was Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his Ekiti state counterpart, Governor Ayodele Fayose. Governor Ajimobi while declaring the summit open noted that being objective is one of the most difficult things in life, enjoining media practitioners to ensure that they correctly and factually inform the people so that the government and the people can always walk in the same direction.
He stated that efforts to bridge the information and communication gap, address lack of professionalism and ethical standards among professional journalists necessitated the first Oyo State Council on Information Summit saying, “Our answer is this maiden edition of Oyo State Council on Information Summit with the theme: Managing Information and Communications: The Catalyst for Sustainable Development. It is convened by the Oyo state government for stakeholders in the media profession, to exchange views and ideas, seek ways of elevating standards, inject fresh thinking, improve the flow and expand the accessibility to information from the government.
In his short remarks, Governor Fayose urged practitioners to look inward, lead by example with information dissemination from the government to the public, adding that if things get better through this process, it will be in the interest of all. While, lamenting that most journalists have abandoned their professional calling by becoming what he described as “professional-political journalists”, he however urged them to choose one out of the two Fields.
The state commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, in his welcome address, noted that the summit which he described as a media industry event and not a government one became imperative based on the strong need to improve the information and communication network between government and the people, promote professionalism, ethics and standards as vitriolic language and toxic narratives have filled the media space in recent times saying that these rancorous discussions especially on radio and the social media have distorted information dissemination in the country.
The wealth of experience of the chairman of the occasion added the needed impetus to the summit as a veteran journalist of note and one of the three musketeers of Journalism, Mr. Felix Adenaike began his remarks by relating his career experience to the old and new breed in the media profession. He defined information as facts about persons, institutions, events which fuels communication, while communication is the process of disseminating information to the people. He was of the opinion that lack of information leads to rumor mongering, thus reiterating the essence of the summit.
While examining the theme “Managing Information & Communications: the Catalyst for Sustainable Development” the former Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati, said that the poor working conditions of journalists was making them vulnerable, describing social media as the greatest source of agony for the Jonathan government while he served.
Abati however urged the media to enforce good governance through dissemination of information that emphasize values and accountability, advocating that there should be a sustainable partnership between government and journalists and consequently called for special attention to journalists’ welfare so as to promote professionalism.
The Editor-in-Chief of Nigerian Tribune, Mr. Edward Dickson represented by the Group Business Editor, Mr. Sulaiman Olanrewaju, in his goodwill message, appreciated the Oyo State Government for the laudable event, emphasizing that development initiatives are not sustainable without effective information and communication strategies.
Speaking on behalf of the regulatory agencies of the media, the Oyo State Zonal Director, National Broadcasting Commission, Mrs. Olajumoke Coker congratulated the State Government for the wonderful initiative and enjoined media practitioners to promote programmes that will enhance unity and peaceful co-existence in Nigeria. Also, in his goodwill message, the Zonal Director Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Mallam Muhammed Bello harped on the idea of credibility, fairness and integrity, which he described as paramount in information dissemination for the overall interest of the people.
At the end of the two-day summit, over 800 media stakeholders, cautioned media practitioners on reporting inciting as well as divisive messages that could lead to chaos and precipitate anarchy in the country and consequently advocated for the promotion of language for peace and stability in the country by media organizations.