Bayelsa Governor Calls For Neutrality On Part Of Media Practitioners

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba

The need for media practitioners to be neutral in their reportage of happenings across the country has been harped on, “to a large extent, the media has not done enough. Often times, the media takes sides”, the Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, has said.

He said “you read stuff on social media and you find out that the media is already favoring a particular candidate. The media conduct opinion poll and you could see from the opinion poll that they are bias already towards a particular candidate”.

The governor who was represented by his Information Commissioner and Orientation, Hon. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, made the assertion Thursday at the 14th All Editors’ Conference (ANEC), with the theme: “Credible Election, Sustainable Democracy and the Nigerian Media”, at Asaba, Delta State capital, said, such unfair reports does not illicit confidence and trust from the electorate, stressing that for the media to play the role of a true watchdog of the society, the industry must be fair.

He noted that the media should report events and issues as they were and leave judgment to the public, “we are not doing enough of that. We are more or less taking side and we have favored candidates in most cases”.

While identifying the unfairness reportage to some media owners who are in politics, he said “if the media owners are politicians, then you don’t expect the medium to report accurately and that is why we are getting it wrong”.

According to the governor, as professionals, journalists should not look up to their employers as it has a way of coloring the whole essence, “we have to be truly independent whether we like it or not, we have to allow the ethics of our profession to guide what we do”.

He commended the Delta State governor and chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Special National Convention Planning Committee, Ifeanyi Okowa, over the just concluded party primaries which produced the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as the party’s presidential flag-bearer in the 2019 general election.

He called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to follow the footprint of the PDP for conducting a free, fair and credible presidential primary election, “judging by the outcome of the primaries in Port Harcourt, very credible and the whole world could attest to that. I think he did very well, we are proud of him; it is good that he is a PDP governor and only PDP governor can produce such credible INEC chairman. We expect that INEC will take a cue from what happened at the primaries in Port Harcourt”, he reiterated.