The Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Ben Okoyen, has advised journalists, especially online publishers, to direct their loyalty to the people instead of those in power.
The envoy, who delivered a goodwill message to the virtual Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), today, October 15, further advised the journalists to continue to be reliable.
“Your focus and loyalty must be towards the citizen. Be citizen conscious.”
According to him, the people in power also rely on reports by the media, as a result of which he said that journalists must portray the truth always.
He urged media practitioners to always verify their reports and avoid one-sided stories.
Speaking earlier, Jonathan Rozen of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said that the Nigerian media has been incredibly dynamic and daring, adding that there is vibrant journalism going on in Nigeria.
He noted however, that there is ongoing threat to online journalism, which is consistent with the crackdown on the mainstream media, identifying, among others, the Cyber Crime Act being used to target the media.
He listed some of the journalists and online publishers who have fallen victim of official harassment over the years in Nigeria, even as he suggested that going forward, there is the need for broad international solidarity to champion the cause of freedom for journalists.
Addressing the GOCOP’s virtual AGM, Ramon Nasir, Head of Communications, United Bank for Africa Plc, said that the fact that the Guild has chosen to hold the meeting despite the odds arising from the COVID-19 pandemic was evidence of the seriousness of the group.
Ramon commended the professionalism of GOCOP members, saying that they have held on to the ethics of the profession by ensuring balanced reports.
In his opening address earlier, GOCOP President, Dotun Oladipo, said that this year’s AGM was unusual because of the times we live in, adding that it is the COVID-19 pandemic that made it impossible for the Guild to hold its usual two-day AGM.
The GOPCOP President expressed happiness that none of the Guild’s members was lost to the pandemic.
Also present at the pre-AGM session were the Head of the Corporate Communications Department of Zenith Bank Plc, Sunday Enebeli-Uzor and a representative of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited.
After the opening session, the AGM proper was held virtually and issues relevant to the association were discussed.