The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim has called on stakeholders in the media industry to forge a common goal aimed at truly professionalising journalism practice in Nigeria.
The Commissioner who expressed concern over the basterdisation of journalism practice with the advent of the new media, called on the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Guild of Editors and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) to collectively articulate a framework that would make journalism a purely professional organisation.
Nsirim made the call, today, 25/2/2022, while playing host to the newly elected Executive body of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Rivers State Council who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Port Harcourt.
“We can not continue to be a trade union. The NUJ, the Guild of Editors and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria must come together to work towards professionalising the practice of journalism.
He urged the Nigerian Union of Journalists to put the issue of professionalism on the front burner of the ongoing amendments of the Union’s constitution adding that such would address the incidents of quackery in the profession.
“We should abhor unnecessary sentiments when it comes to anything that has to do with the union. It is the forth estate of the realm and must not be an all comers affair.
“The NUJ must work together to professionalise. Whatever constitutional amendment that is taking place must be geared towards making the union a professional body,” he said.
Nsirim urged the Rivers State Council of the NUJ to drive the effort by ensuring that a credible membership register is provided at the State level while plans should be made to initiate training for journalists on the ethics of the profession.
He enjoined the leadership of the NUJ in the State to join efforts with the Ministry to drive the #OurStateOurResponsibility advocacy campaign aimed at changing the negative narrative about the State.
He reiterated that the conducive environment created by the Governor Wike’s administration has positioned Rivers State as a destination of choice and that the NUJ needs to partner with the State Government to tell the world that the State is open for business.
“I keep reminding everyone that lives and does business here that Rivers State is our State, is our responsibility. We began this campaign with the understanding that we have a shared prosperity to protect.
“We should not allow people to demarket our State. Those who are media practitioners in Rivers State must tell the outside world the true situation of things in Rivers State. We shouldn’t join to demarket Rivers State.
“Rivers State is home for all who come to do legitimate business. Only criminals are not wanted here. But if you have a genuine business to do, Rivers State is home for you,” he stated.
He emphasised that the awards being bestowed on the State Governor, Nyesom Wike were an endorsement by the media and the people of Nigeria to say that they have found a man whose governance has resonated with the plight of the masses.
“It is not happenstance. Governor Wike came prepared for governance and he initiated a NEW Rivers blueprint that encapsulates overall development of Rivers State. That is why you see infrastructure, healthcare delivery, agriculture, education, sports, housing, even social welfare.
“So we are very fortunate at this time in history that we have a patriot like Governor Wike who has demonstrated from day one that he is here to rewrite history. That he is here to make Rivers State stand out as a place where will be open for investors. A place that will be a destination of choice in the years to come,” he said.
The State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Stanley Job Stanley, commended Governor Wike for the development strides recorded in the State particularly at the time the nation is experiencing serious economic crisis.
He expressed gratitude to the Governor for appointing a core professional in the person of Pastor Nsirim as Information and Communications Commissioner adding that it would further cement relationship between the government and the media.
He congratulated Nsirim on his appointment and assured the Commissioner the union’s collaboration with the State Government to achieve more developmental strides.
Special Assistant, media,
Honourable Commissioner for Information and Communications,