By Grace Alegba and Lucy Osuizigbo
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Saturday pleaded with the media to support the Federal Government in its effort to contain insurgency and banditry in Nigeria.
The minister, represented by the Director of Information in the ministry, Mr Sunday Baba, made the call at the 2019 Biennial Convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors at Ikeja, Lagos.
Mohammed also urged the media to support the military and the present administration’s effort to bequeath a virile and egalitarian society through concerted and sustained attacks on the ills of society.
“As media practitioners, you have a responsibility to steer the government toward purposeful programmes and policies that would engender national, growth and cohesiveness.
“In this light, government expects the media to always advance the national cause by upholding the sanctity of peace, nationalism and the benefits of the pluralism of our society,” he said.
In a message, Lagos Governor Mr Akinwunmi Ambode said the criticisms and suggestions of the media toward a livable megacity had contributed to policy formulation and execution in the state.
The governor was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan.
Ambode appealed to the media to support his successor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in actualising the vision of a greater Lagos.
“What we have witnessed in the state in the past four years and particularly the inauguration of transformational projects in recent times bears testimony to the fact that your criticisms and suggestions encouraged us to strive to do more to satisfy the needs of our people,” he said.
The Head of Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Prof. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika, in a keynote address, called on media practitioners to evolve strategies to tackle media capitalists.
Ogwezzy-Ndisika explained that new media capitalists were dominating the cyberspace and to remain relevant and afloat, media practitioners must do more.
She listed the problems in the media industry to include poor remuneration of journalists, shallow contents and shelving of responsibilities.
Ogwezzy-Ndisika noted that the media in some developed countries were doing well because they were moving with current trends and realities.
The don pointed out that the new media, including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google, Nairaline and other platforms were taking over the role of the old media as they competed for the attention of readers and that the new media were snatching the advertising space.
“The rise of new media should be a reason for media practitioners to strategise on how to be relevant in the digital world.
“The 10th edition of the Information Society Report, published by the International Telecommunications Union in December 2018, noted that 51 per cent of the world’s population, that is 8.9 billion, are using the internet.
“Of all the continents, Africa recorded the largest growth rate from 2.1 per cent of internet users in 2005 to about 24.4 per cent as at 2018.
“Indeed, this shows the importance of internet access and usage. With this increase, there is no gain saying that the practice of journalism has evolved, is evolving and will continue to evolve.
“With this surge, African media companies have no excuse not to be intentional about ensuring optimal use of their advantages in repositioning their editorial and business modules to remain relevant and profitable,’’ she said.
Speaking on the topic: “Media Convergence as Strategy for Survival’’, Ogwezzy-Ndisika, stressed the need for media owners to take into account, the needs of consumers in providing content, to remain relevant.
“We can remodel our strategies,’’ she added. (NAN)