Published On: Fri, Oct 9th, 2020

US Consulate Trains Journalists To Hold Govt. Accountable

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News Investigators/ The United States Consulate in Nigeria on Friday concluded its three-week capacity-building workshop for Bayelsa-based journalists and admonished them to hold government accountable to the people.
The virtual workshop trained participants on the critical role of the media in ensuring transparency and accountability of the government to the citizens.
It was organised by the Media Career Development Network (MCDN) Nigeria and funded by the consulate as part of its post-election programmes after the November 2019 Bayelsa governorship poll.
The workshop facilitator, Lekan Otufodunrin, charged journalists to be conscious of their social obligations as watchdog of society, in spite of the daunting challenges.
Mr. Otufodunrin, who is the Executive Director of MCDN, further urged joirnalists to take responsibility for their career progression and invest in self-development rather than wait for their employers.
He described career plan as fundamental but regretted that media owners no longer accorded priority to career development of journalists.
He, therefore, encouraged journalists to seek for training opportunities outside their places of employment.
According to Mr. Otufodunrin, journalists must be happy with their career to be able to play their role of holding the government accountable to the people.
He advised journalists to apply for fellowships, grants and training opportunities, to enable them to achieve career fulfillment.
He opined that such measures would also help to prepare them for higher responsibilities within and outside the newsroom.
Also, a Lectures at the Lagos State University, Prof. Lai Oso, underscored the need for ethical guides and safety considerations in reporting conflict situations.
“Safety of journalists in conflict situations is paramount because no story is more important than the life of the reporter.
”Journalists have a responsibility to preserve the peace in society by reporting conflicts in a way that does not escalate the pains of the people.
Mr. Oso, who is a former reporter with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), shared his personal experiences with participants and urged them to maintain professionalism.
He said that every story by a journalist “goes a long way in shaping society”.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from 14 print and electronic media organisations in the state.

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