The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations says it will partner the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission and other stakeholders to promote democratic principles and ensure national healing following the violence that trailed the #EndSARS protests across the nation.
The President of the NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, said this in Abuja on Monday when the leadership of the institute paid a courtesy visit on the Acting Director General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba.
Sirajo explained that it was the duty of the NBC, NIPR and other stakeholders to promote and protect democracy through the broadcast media and also ensure that the role of media was not abused under any guise.
He therefore urged the media, especially the broadcast industry, to ensure that the ethics of the journalism profession were not trampled upon in the discharge of their duty.
He said: “We must guide the professional ethics and mutual trust; the Nigerian broadcast media have not been doing badly.
“The role of the media must not be abused and we acknowledge the role of the NBC.
“And now, as relationship managers seeing this period as a time of national healing, we appeal to the NBC to review the sanctions on AIT, Channels and Arise TV stations in Nigeria.
“We want NBC to be partners in deescalating tension.”
Sirajo noted that the NIPR as a public relations manager would ensure that the country remained united just as the founding fathers left it, in spite the bruises associated with the #EndSARS protests.
Sirajo added: “The #EndSARS protest was a glaring indication of the realities of our existence as a people in Nigeria, and identification of a problem is halfway to solving it.
“Worthy of commendation is the government’s readiness to engage the protesters and to implement their demands.
“The outcome of the protests calls for soul-searching and we must ask ourselves if this is the Nigeria we want to have because in the past, we never asked what tribe or religion one belonged to, to move the country forward.”
Responding, Idachaba said the commission would not relent in ensuring that the ethics of the profession were obeyed.
Idachaba noted that his office had organised a series of programmes before the EndSARS protests to remind broadcasting media organisations of their role at ensuring that the country’s democracy was protected.
He said: “We will collectively begin to chat a national agenda.
“On the EndSARS protests, NBC organised a lecture on broadcast reform and challenges of covering crisis before the protests, in spite of this, some stations decided to go contrary; and this worried me.
“Broadcasters were using footage from social media to buttress their stories and we had no option than to enforce the law after cautioning defaulters.
“Even after we fined them, they have continued to speak against the regulator; they should know that we reserve the right to withdraw their licences.
“All the action is within the law to regulate the broadcast industry and there is need for stakeholders like NIPR to engage the broadcast practitioners.
“People should learn to live by the provisions of their profession.”