The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has charged journalists to redouble efforts in discharging their duties as critical stakeholders in strengthening the country’s democracy.
The NGE president, Mr Mustapha Isah, made the call at a town hall meeting on agenda setting for sustainable development, on Monday in Yola.
Isah said that some of the duties performed by the media included agenda setting, serving as watchdogs of the society and holding public office holders accountable for good governance.
“The Guild believes that democracy remains the best form of government because it guarantees freedom and it has the ability to correct its own mistakes if the people don’t go to sleep after elections.
“The media as a watchdog of the society owes it as a duty to monitor governance and hold public office holders accountable to the people who elected them,” he said.
He said the meeting was the third in the series, with the first two held in Lagos and Kano under the NGE/US Embassy capacity building programme for editors in the South-West and North-West zones.
According to him, the core objectives of the meeting is to bring out the best among media practitioners the key role of agenda setting to promote sustainable democratic culture in Nigeria.
“Should the media allow politicians to set the agenda for us? I think it should be the opposite.
“As the politicians talk about zoning, we, the media, should remind them that we are more interested in the issues of development, education, security, youth employment and poverty eradication, and other issues affecting the common man.
“As poverty doesn’t recognise ethnicity and religion, the ordinary Nigerians are faced with the same challenges whether in the north or south, all that they want is the basic things of life,” he said.
In her remarks, Jeanne Clark, Speaker, Embassy of the United States in Nigeria, described the media as the “epitome of democracy and human rights defenders.”
Clark appreciated the opportunity of coming together to reflect on the freedom of rights and to share a critical network to promote democracy.
The event was attended by journalists and representatives of various media organisations in the North-East region.