Journalists across the country have been charged to sift the charlatans amidst them who sent the image of the profession and make it a tool of attack in the name of citizen journalists.
Speaking with journalists in Osogbo, the Commissioner of Information and Civic Orientation in Osun, Funke Egbemode decried the bastardization of the present day journalism.
According to her, “journalists started recognising charlatans as part of us, giving them space. It’s either you’re a journalist or not. We have rules and regulations guiding every profession and if these rules are not being followed, we will get into trouble.
“Some people woke up one day because they speak English and have phones, then called themselves citizen journalists. We woke up one day and found people who are angry, just typing breaking. Because they are angry with somebody, they think that’s enough reason to start a blog and you call a blogger a journalist.
“If there are no citizen doctors, there can’t be citizen journalists. It’s the fault of all of us recognising those who were not trained for the job, who do not have passion for the profession, who see it as a tool of attack and think being a journalist gives them some kind of weapon to fight their enemies. It’s fine to be an activist but being an activist is different from being a journalist.”
Egbemode, a former President of Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) further positioned that anyone who wants to practise journalism should get trained and join a media house where further grooming will be given.
“People are not willing to be mentored, they want to be CEOs on the day they graduate, they want to be called editors two years down the road but it doesn’t work like that.
“We went to journalism school apart from going to the university. You find out that what we were taught in school is not what you find in the news. You learn on the job how to ask questions, conduct interviews, how to soften the personality you’re interviewing, how to even stalk them and balance your stories. But that’s not what we are doing these days. Someone finds a story, doesn’t confirm it yet spreads it.”
Commenting on the recent awards given to the Gov. Gboyega Oyetola by three media houses, Egbemode said the awards came because there is something to be celebrated adding that more would come because he works daily.
“Oyetola is a principal who does not make PR a nightmare, he does leave a trail of a bad behaviour, being combative, confrontational attitude. He sees the Nigerian media as a partner and as an institution that should be respected and should be allowed to do its job. He doesn’t go and look for trouble.”
Describing Oyetola as a patient, focused gentleman, the information commissioner said, “residents should encourage him to rerun and pray that he wins. Oyetola wants to leave Osun better than he met it.”
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