Some stakeholders in Abakaliki on Friday tasked journalists in the state to uphold the ethics of the journalism profession by being investigative, objective and balanced in their reportage.
The stakeholders in Abakaliki on the occasion of the 2019 World Press Freedom Day, celebrated globally on May 3.
Mr Monday Uzor, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi, Dr Eric Kelechi-Igwe, enjoined journalists to eschew biased, sensational and non-investigative reportage.
Uzor also advised practitioners to ensure accuracy and to cross check their facts before publishing reports.
He regretted that journalists in the country have not been able to explore the advantages brought by the passage of freedom of Information act to deepen their investigative skills.
He noted that since the advent of the present democratic governance that journalists in the country were not fettered like in the days of military rule.
Uzor, who described journalism as the mirror of the society, urged practitioners to avail themselves of the provisions of the Information act to effectively carry out their assignment.
He also challenged the government to ensure that the implementation of the freedom of information act was fully done so as to enhance access to information that would benefit the people.
“One of the functions of journalists is to hold government accountable through investigative, unbiased and balanced reportage of activities of the government.
“I want to say that most practising journalists in the state have not been able to utilize the provisions of the 2011 freedom of information act to enhance their investigative skills.
“Journalists must shift from speculative to factual and investigative journalism to make the profession more robust and thereby hold governments more accountable,” Uzor said.
He also called on the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to sanitize the profession by checking infiltration of quacks and other non-qualified personnel into the profession.
Also speaking, Mr Chris Egbu, Deputy Director, News, in the Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation, urged journalists to deepen their investigative skills to enhance the quality and credibility of their reportage.
He also appealed to the government to provide a more enabling environment for the practice of journalism.
He said that intimidation, harassment and abuse of Journalists especially by government agents were major hindrance to free practice of journalism in Nigeria.
“Once a journalist writes anything which government in power or their privies think affect or portray the administration in bad light, such journalist is marked out for victimisation, intimidation, harassment and abuse.
“I want to enjoin colleagues to avoid arm-chair journalism and to use their platforms to mirror the society, uphold high ethical standards and work for the overall interest of society,” Egbu said.