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Communication Professionals Urge Media Organisations To Explore New Business Models

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Communication professionals under the auspices of the Association of Communication Scholars & Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN) have urged media organisations to explore new business models to address the challenges of funding.

The association gave the charge at its eighth Annual Conference held in Port Harcourt recently, and themed ‘Media and Citizens Participation in Governance for Accountability and Peace in Society’

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In a communiqué released and signed by ACSPN General Secretary, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie, the following observations were made: “Journalists are the only professionals given a role in chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution to hold government accountable to the people; the media have the duty to promote peace in the society; that while it is important for the media to hold government accountable, it is necessary to note that there is a decline in societal or national value; new media technology is key to facilitating citizen participation in governance; the media have the responsibility to always examine the facts before reportage; media portrayal of women is often not favourable to the course of women; women participation in media is low and there has been a failure to utilise the media even when the opportunities are available.”

Continuing, the participants also observed that poor implementation of the Freedom of Information Act is affecting media role in holding government accountable; journalists lacking in upholding and promoting professional ethic, which affect media credulity; the problem of safety of journalists affects media ability to hold government accountable; journalists are deficient in peace journalism skills, thereby affecting their ability to promote peace; funding and credibility are major challenges of the media in performing their roles in holding government accountable; there are legislation deliberately designed to curb and limit the role of the media in holding the government accountable and government funding could compromise the independence of the media in objectively performing their roles, especially holding government accountable.

The following resolutions and recommendations were also adopted: That media organisations should explore new business models to address the challenges of funding; journalists should advocate for media development fund that should support media organisations; journalist should advocate for bailout support for the media as is the case with other sectors, especially in difficult times, such as the pandemic or recession; media organisations should collaborate and engage stakeholders for necessary support; citizens need to go back to the value system and own up and not blame government for every societal problem; media literacy should be encouraged and funded by the government and other funding bodies to ensure that citizens understand ways to engage the media more appropriately; journalists should uphold and promote professional ethics to ensure adherence and credibility in the media; women should be more proactive in engaging with the media by exploring available avenues, such as media phone-in programmes, new media platforms, films, among others, to tell their stories.

They also recommended that media organisations should focus on training and retraining of journalists, to enable them update skills and knowledge on current issues journalists’ safety should be taken more seriously by media organisations which should ensure robust insurance schemes and hazard provisions for journalists; media organisation should ensure that the welfare of journalists is taken seriously to ensure that they effectively carryout their roles without compromise; media should constantly remind citizens of their obligation to uphold societal values; journalists should fully harness the benefits of Freedom of Information Act to hold government accountable and media organisations should ensure easy access to the media for their audience, to enhance their participation in governance through the media.

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