Press Council condemns media reports on South-East attacks

The Nigeria Press Council has condemned certain media publications on the recent attacks and killings in some states in the South-East region.

The Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr Francis Nwosu said the publications are “unprofessional, sensational and capable of escalating the attacks and igniting reprisal killings’’.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja, Nwosu admonished media houses and practitioners to abide by the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists.

He urged journalists to eschew reports that can infringe on the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary specifically deplored the front page report in the Daily Trust Newspaper publication of April 5 , stressing that the headline and the story are “sensational, inciting and unprofessional.

“The attention of the Nigeria Press Council has been drawn to the front page publication of the Daily Trust Newspaper on Monday April 5, 2021.

“The story and its headline is not only inciting but also sensational.

“This  kind of report will not only lead to escalating attacks but also ignite reprisal killings in parts of the country,’’ he said.

Nwosu said the story negates the provision of Section 11 of the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists as approved by the Nigerian Press Organisation which states: “A journalist should strive to enhance national unity and public good’’

He said the publication is also in violation of section 12 of the code which is on social responsibility of the journalists to their community.

“It is on the basis of these two provisions of the Code that the Nigeria Press Council holds as a mandate to address this fundamental problem that is emerging in our society.

“As journalists, we must uphold national unity first and any report that infringes on the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria, we must avoid it even it means that we have to play down on the stories.

“Whether in the print and electronic media, private or government media the ethics of the profession must be adhered to regarding the unity, and indivisibility of Nigeria

“Any report that gives the impression that one ethnic group is being profiled is absolutely unacceptable and that is where we stand,’’ he said.

Nwosu said it was unfortunate that the council had received several reports on ethnic profiling which were not in the interest of the country

He, therefore, enjoined media practitioners to respect the unity and diversity of the country while appealing to their sensibilities not to draw one ethnic group against the other. (NAN)