The Nigeria Press Council on Monday urged media professionals to emphasise the objective of quality journalism by reporting issues that would elevate political discourse as 2019 campaigns began.
Nnamdi Njemanze, the Executive Secretary of NPC, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, advised the media against reportage that would derogate issue-based campaigns.
Njemanze also enjoined the media to shun tendencies of trying to take side or project any political party or candidates at the expense of others.
He said the media as professionals, should ensure that their self-inclination did not jeopardise the need for quality journalism, saying “if that happens, then the moral tone of the profession would be weaken”.
He said: “At every time, the media should stress and emphasise the objective of good journalism by reporting issues that will elevate the political discourse rather than reporting issues that will derogate quality discourse.
“As campaigns for the 2019 elections begin, we need to draw attention of the media to the code of ethics of journalism that guides elections campaigns.
“We do know that politicians are in the habit of accusing each other and use words that are inflammatory in order to score cheap points against their opponent.
“The media as a moderator of the process should be mindful of reporting such or project some of the statements that are capable of stirring up mischief.”
The NPC boss noted that the code of ethics for journalists was a pointer to the need for quality journalism that ensured the truth was projected.
Njemanze advised media professionals to ensure that the essential element of good journalism like verification, balancing, fairness and truth were projected at all times.
According to him, on reporting the political space, the media must be mindful of the electoral guideline and laws for elections and they should also be mindful of the code of ethics for election coverage as reviewed.
He said: “Let the electoral laws and code of ethics of the profession, including the NBC media code, be the guide during the campaigns and election.
“We do know that some politicians will go over the board to say one or two things that might not promote national unity.
“It is incumbent on the media to filter those extraneous elements that will derogate the quality of the news reportage.”
Commenting on editorial independence, Njemanze said decision concerning content of news should be the responsibility of professional journalists and not the responsibility of any other interest group to avoid undue influence.