University Don Charges Journalists To Hold Leaders Accountable

A lecturer at the University of Uyo, Associate Professor Etim Frank, has called on Journalists and social media influencers to hold leaders accountable for their actions in public offices.

Frank made the call yesterday, at Media Converge organized by Coalition of Online Publishers, Bloggers, and Social Media Influencers, COPBSMI, held at Eden Hotels in Eket, Akwa Ibom State.

Speaking as keynote speaker at the event, the Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Uyo, said that the press was created out of the civil populace in order to shape the duty-bearers into performing the obligations arising from social contract.

He highlighted the role of the press to include identifying conflict-of-interests among government officials and bringing them out to the knowledge of the rest of the society so that citizens must react by removing or replacing them at elections.

Frank stated that the press as a watchdog of the society, must dig into the past and present records of those presenting themselves for public offices for the rest of the civil society to decide on them, adding that the press must set agenda for the public office seekers.

He, therefore, urged government to see the press as partners in progress rather than a threat, in the uplifting of the welfare of the citizens.

“The common denominator between these social structures is the ‘citizen’, therefore the Government must see the press as partners in progress in the uplifting of the welfare of the citizens.

“Since Government would not willingly accept the press because of the prevailing spirit in the government, the press must keep pressing for democratic and functional society in favor of the citizens,” said Frank.

He also wondered why the distribution of projects in the state is selective. He noted that while some sections of the state have been highly favoured with different projects, other sections in the same neighborhood are totally marginalized, and denied democratic deliverables, calling on the government to give equal treatment to all sections of the state.

During Panel Discussion, PENGASSAN Chairman ExxonMobil Nigeria, Kings Udoidua, Public Commentator, Mrs. Empress Anil, Social Entrepreneur, Princess Obong Roseline, and Publisher, The Ink Newspaper, Nsibiet John, while sharing their thoughts on the topic: Journalism in a Developing Democracy, stressed the need for Journalists to be independent and ensure that their reportage is factual and devoid of sentiments, so as to serve the public effectively.

They frowned at brown envelope journalism, describing it as self-serving against the collective interest of the larger society. They urged journalists and media influencers to imbibe the ethics of journalism practice.

While commending COPBSMI for impactful events, they urged the leadership to partner with other organizations for optimum results.

In their separate speeches, ICT Expert, Dr. Ukpong Hope, Labour Party Candidate for Eket Federal Constituency, Pastor Isang Udoakagha, Barr. Anietie Jackson, lauded COPBSMI for putting up such an event for media practitioners to be reminded of their watchdog roles in society, promising to encourage the organization to host more training summits for upcoming Journalists and media influencers.

Wisdom Bassey

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