Okafor Ofiebor, Port Harcourt
A veteran journalist, Dr Jossy Nkwocha, has called on the media and Nigerian journalists to be patriotic in the reportage of the forthcoming general election in the country.
Nkwocha, who is the Head, Corporate Communications, Indorama-Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, made the call while speaking in Port Harcourt, as Chairman of the occasion at the opening ceremony of the 2023 Correspondents’ Week.
The week was organised by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, with the theme: “Media Vigilance Ahead of Peaceful 2023 Election In Rivers State.”
He called on journalists to be careful about spreading fake news from various interest groups saying there is a need to check sources of information before going ahead to use such stories.
Nkwocha said: “Be careful of fake news from various interest groups. Fake news is the biggest thing that threatens journalism and even the electoral process.
“Let us ensure that we check the sources of information before using such stories. Let’s maintain neutrality and try to give all political parties equal opportunities at all times.
“Let’s beware of materials that cause character assassination of political opponents. Let’s be careful with information that may trigger violence in the electoral process.
“Let’s be careful of an ethnic group or religious profiling or political profiling. Journalists should not make themselves cheap before politicians.
“Let’s remember to be patriotic and know that Nigeria is our only country. Let’s not set Nigeria and Rivers State ablaze with our reports. Let us also remember that the pen is mighty; it can build or destroy.”
He commended the Correspondents’ Chapel for organizing the Week and aptly choosing the theme which has enabled INEC to educate the Voters concerning the upcoming elections.
Nkwocha enjoined Journalists to be circumspect in the type of sources they rely on for information dissemination because they can unintentionally slander people, and trigger violence and ethnic profiling.
He also asked for neutrality in reportage and that all political parties should be given equal opportunities.