The Indian High Commission in Abuja has pledged to support and facilitate training porgrammes for journalists of the News Agency of Nigeria to enhance professionalism and better reportage.
Abhay Thakur, Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, made the pledge on Wednesday in Abuja when he received a team from NAN led by the Managing Director, Buki Ponle.
Thakur said that the support is also a way of strengthening the already existing partnership with the agency.
The High Commissioner said it would inform the agency of training opportunities for journalists of the agency, urging the agency to also look out for opportunities which the High Commission would follow up with fundings.
“What we have found easier to implement is that if you give us some sort of information that you are in touch with any Indian institution like I-tech, you ask them directly that you are interested in any programme.
“And will they be willing to grant this programme for a group of Nigerian journalists, it makes it easier because once we know that you have reached them and they have responded.
“Most of our institute will be ready to respond; I am saying that out of experience.
“We get communications from the India side and the High Commission or the Ministry of External Affairs will provide follow up of fundings and it makes it easier for us.
“Because we are not going completely to find scheme out of the blues; so if you have such contacts, please do use them.
“And you can start a new scheme; it doesn’t have to be existing schemes like I-tech programme.
“Currently because of the pandemic we are doing e-itech, but this will change. We are ready to go beyond this and I am sure that NAN knows about it.
“For example, if you get a programme from India Institute for Mass Communication that they can run a programme for 10 journalists, then we can try to meet the gaps because my interest is always to get things done,” Thakur said.
Thakur said the importance of the media cannot be overemphasized as the media plays an extremely important role in showcasing the reputation of a country.
The High commissioner however called for more media visibility on the India-Nigeria relations which he says has been underreported.
Speaking earlier, Ponle expressed satisfaction on the relations with the High Commission and the agency which he called improved partnership and more training opportunity for NAN journalists.
Ponle said considering the strategic friendship between Nigeria and India, the agency was working towards reopening its office in India as funding improves.
“We have the resources, man power and trained journalists but it is not enough. Funding is not enough and training is not enough and that is why we are here.
“In terms of exchange, we have a programme with the Association of Asian News International (ANI) and we are using their contents lavishly and we hope such relationship continues.
“And we want to explore other opportunities of partnering other news agencies because we have a teaming population in Nigeria just like we have in India so we continue to serve the Indian population of activities in India.
“Permit me to ask for further partnership through you in terms of training because journalists must be trained especially in this age of emerging technology.
“On the issue of training which you have spoken about extensively, we would explore all the opportunities so that we can benefit from that aspect to train and re-train our journalists.
“Because we need training, constant training for that matter and the paradigm is shifting to positive reporting which we encourage in the agency,” Ponle said.
Ponle also urged the High Commission to subscribe to the wide ranges of NAN services; the new media section like video, audio, still photography and text messages.