US donates 93.3 million naira to Nigerian publishers for capacity building

The Nigerian Publishers Guild (NGE) received $ 226,889 (the equivalent of approximately 93.3 million Naira) from the United States of America through its Embassy in Nigeria, to facilitate activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of its members to understand , appreciate and fulfill their constitutional responsibility to hold government accountable to the people.

In a press release issued on Sunday by NGE President Mustapha Isah and Secretary General Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the professional organization of editors, said capacity building will include training programs for editors and other journalists. experts on freedom of the press / democracy, as well as public meetings on the regulatory framework for the media.

The project also includes the printing and dissemination of the Code of Ethics for Journalism, and the strengthening of the NGE website – informational alerts on media violations.

“These capacity building conferences, which will be held in the six geopolitical zones of the country, are to provide a platform for editors to remember the sacred duties they are charged to perform by the constitution on behalf of citizens. said the NGE.

Drawing many examples from advanced democracies around the world, like the United States – after which the Nigerian constitution is formed, conferences should instill in editors the need to perform their duties with the highest form of standard and The sense of responsibilities. ”

The body of all Nigerian editors hope that a responsive and professional media will have the side effect of keeping the government on their toes, holding the government accountable to the citizens, gaining the trust and support of the citizens and the community. international development and to advance democratic growth and consolidation.

Explaining other components of the project, the NGE added that it will also strengthen the NGE website to respond to requests for alerts on media violations, public comments and complaints about allegations of malicious reporting in the media. media.

“This would give the Guild the opportunity to strengthen its online presence to quickly disseminate current information to members and the general public, including international partners and the public.

A third element is the printing and distribution of the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalism to all journalists, including editors, in order to popularize among editors and senior journalists the code of professional ethics that governs their profession and instill them in their subconscious and serve as a guiding principle.

” It will also help promote good governance, transparency and deepening democracy through objective media practices that effectively demand the accountability of authorities to advance socio-economic well-being and human rights, and enrich their cultural practices, and human rights, in accordance with the values ​​expected of a modern democratic state, ” the statement explains.

The NGE said that at this critical juncture in Nigeria, particularly in the run-up to the 2023 general elections, the country needs media that can help shape a social and political agenda in support of a better society. , helping to build visions of hope, to encourage Nigerians and Nigeria on the path of development, social reengineering and rebirth.

Regarding the public meetings component of the project, the statement explained that it will provide a huge opportunity for stakeholders to assess media performance in consolidating Nigerian democracy and set an agenda for the future.

The NGE said it has also scheduled strategic meetings with the Association of Newspaper Owners of Nigeria (NPAN), the Union of Journalists of Nigeria (NUJ) and other media-focused NGOs on a framework of self-regulation for the Nigerian media.

” This will provide a platform for media actors to undertake self-introspection and develop a framework for media regulation, which will not only gain their buy-in, but also improve the standard for media practice in Nigeria, thereby reducing or even eliminating incidents. substandard, unprofessional reporting in the Nigerian media.

Such conversations and, hopefully, the eventual adoption of a self-regulatory framework could also have a regional spinoff from which countries in the region, and indeed Africa, could be encouraged to draw inspiration from. Nigerian example, as was the case with the adoption of a freedom of information law in Nigeria which subsequently had positive spillover effects in Ghana, ” the NGE added.

Regarding the expected impact of the project, the editors said that a group of Nigerian editors and media directors will be galvanized and commit to upholding the highest ethical standards and taking strong steps to ensure the same. thing. And engaged in the promotion and protection of the right to the independent press, freedom of expression and the deepening of the democratic space.

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The NGE also hoped that at the end of the project, a mobilized pool of publishers would consistently project problem-based governance to defend the mass of the Nigerian people in accordance with Article 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. .

According to the statement, the program seeks to galvanize key stakeholders to act responsibly and deny authorities the moral authority to take punitive action against the media for fulfilling their constitutionally assigned role of holding the government to account. government, and citizens in general have the right to hold and express their views on the conduct of public officials.

According to the project timelines, the South West conference and the town hall meeting will be held in Lagos from December 2-4.

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