Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The Speaker Taraba State House of Assembly Professor Joseph Albasu Kunini has charged Journalists in the country to be objective and set the right agenda for the political system in the buildup to the 2023 general elections.
Kunini, who said this on Wednesday evening while hosting Journalists in Taraba state to an end of year dinner, insisted that the role of the press in moulding public opinion and shaping discuss is indispensable towards a greater and better society.
The Speaker, while tracing the subtle but key role the press have played over the years towards building the present democracy, urged the Journalists to resist the temptation to allow their personal interests and biases to influence their work.
“The present democracy that we enjoy would not have been possible without the role of the Press. There is need for paradigm shift in the role of the media in the present political dispensation. The media must take up it’s agenda setting role which is the ability of the news media to influence the importance placed on issues or topics of the public agenda, more seriously, rather than dissipating energy on mundane issues and outright blackmail of personalities. I urge you to use the pen as weapon of mass reorientation and sensitisation rather than weapon of mass destruction. You have the capacity for both.
“This clarion call has become imperative as the 2023 general elections are fast approaching in the country. Already the drumbeat of politics has started gathering momentum. The news media should therefore engage the aspirants on their manifestos or what they have to offer rather than allow them to wear the toga of ethnicity or religion to canvas for support and votes.
“This is in line with global best practices and the agenda setting theory of the mass media which is driven by the media’s bias on things such as politics, economy, culture, education, health, human development, security and others. The era of ethnicity and religion as well as sectionalism taking the centre stage in political discuss must make way for issues based politicking, and that can only happen if you play your roles objectively.
“You must therefore set the right agenda for the political system and for the political players at all levels. As you carry out your constitutional roles, you should seek the truth and minimize the harm in your reportage borne out of half truths, excessive sensationalism, infusion of personal interests and laziness to dig deeper. Please, be guided by self-censorship rather than sentiment in your reportage”.
The Speaker commended the Journalists for the cordial relationship with the legislature specifically and the state government generally and urged them to sustain the good work they are doing to foster peace and unity in the state.
Our correspondent report that the annual dinner organized by the Speaker for Journalists in the state has become one of the most anticipated nights in the buildup to Christmas for Journalists and and is attended by legislators and critical media stakeholders in the state.
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