Journalism on brink of extinction – Osoba

PIC. 1. FROM LEFT; FORMER OGUN STATE GOVERNOR, AREMO SEGUN OSOBA; REPRESENTATIVE OF LAGOS GOVERNOR, MR STEVE AYORINDE; NATIONAL PRESIDENT, NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALIST, MR WAHEED ODUSILE, AND CORPS MARSHAL, FEDERAL ROAD SAFETY CORPS, BOBOYE OYEYEMI, AT THE 1ST QUARTERLY EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING OF THE NUJ IN LAGOS, ON SATURDAY (16/4/16). 2949 /16/04/2016/WAS/HF/NAN

A former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has said journalism is on the brink of extinction due to the advent of the new media.
Osoba, who is also a veteran journalist and former Managing Director of Daily Times, said this on Saturday in Lagos at the 1st Quarterly National Executive Council meeting of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the programme, with the theme: “Journalists As Agents of Change,” was held at the Combo Hall of the Lagos Television, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
Osoba said journalism as a profession needed to be redirected and refocused to meet the modern day’s demands, including the internet.
He said: “I want to touch the area that is most important to us as journalists.
“We are on the brink of extinction and the media is on its way out.
“The advent of this age of internet, the electronics and the print media must devise a way out.
“On You Tube now, I can download everything with the aid of internet.
“Everything I need.”
“For most of us in the profession, we must check the actions of quacks and everybody claiming to be journalist.
“They are not members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist.
“NUJ as a body needs to see that they are in charge, otherwise internet would be turned by some people to avenues of blackmail, which are perpetrated by non-professionals.”
Osoba urged NUJ to be more proactive in dealing with quacks in journalism, adding that there was a new order in journalism now with the advent of the internet.
He said: “We should not allow this profession to be corrupted by few individuals who are turned to tools in the hands of some people for their own interest.
“Journalists must aspire to balance their stories by getting the other side of their stories and not engaging in what I refer to as ‘Escaping Journalism’.
“We may also get to a stage whereby nobody will buy newspapers anymore.
“We should be ready to get to that time when newspapers would be free and only be sustained by adverts.
“As a body, NUJ is the pivot and foundation of media.
“Some people do not even go through the rudiments of journalism before they become
editors.”
Osoba, however, advised the leadership of NUJ to be more involved in the activities of news items on the internet, adding that the activities of certain bloggers must be checked.
In his keynote address, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Steve Ayorinde, commended the contributions of the media toward ensuring good governance in the state.
Ayorinde said: “I submit with equanimity that members of NUJ, especially in the employment of the Lagos State Government, have been very supportive of our administration’s efforts in making life meaningful for the people.
“They have held brief for the electorate where we would have fallen short of expectations.
“There have been instances where the attention of government was drawn to the desires of the people.
“Two of such instances readily came to mind.
“The directive for the construction of a second pedestrian bridge at Ojota and operation
‘Light up Lagos’.
“This has provided up to date a right illumination for some of our major roads, including federal highways, to ensure safety of lives and properties in the state.
“There are scenarios depicting the level of trust and confidence reposed in members of the Fourth estate by government and the people, as agents of change.
“Please guard your reputation.”
Ayorinde said that for journalists to effectively discharge their duties as agents of change they must be ready to speak as the conscience of the society.
He said: “Governance cannot be foreclosed without effective information dissemination and management.
“Therefore, you should use the opportunity afforded by your quarterly meeting to review the channels of accessing information.
“Journalists are agents of change by virtue of your profession and relevance to the society.
“The influence of information managers affects our way of life and business, more importantly in the global community.
“The ripples of ‘Wiki-leaks’ scandals were yet to abate; then we were faced with the turbulence of the ‘Panama Papers’.
“These are attributable to investigative journalism.
“It is in this light that I challenge you to support this administration by appropriately deploying your skills in helping to find solutions to some of our national challenges.”
In his Address, the National President of the NUJ, Alhaji Waheed Odusile, said the union would no longer tolerate indebtedness to its members by their employers.
Odusile said: “The welfare of our members are in a sorry state; many media houses owe our members many months of outstanding salaries; and we want to use this opportunity to address it.
“We will not give any notice before we close down the media houses that have succeeded in bringing our members down to their knees to impoverish them.
“The situation in the industry is so pathetic and we call on the government to look into the issue of importation because bulk of the materials used in publishing are imported into the country.
“Media depends largely on foreign exchange to buy newsprints for production, which are also heavily taxed by government.
“To bring down the cost of production government must act.”
Odusile, however, hinted that the union would be negotiating a new salary scale for its members with the government, adding that all hands must be on deck to make it a success.
He said: “We are in the middle of negotiating a new media salary for our members and I can assure you that you will have a cause to smile.
“By next week, we will seat with the Ministry of Labour and Productivity where all issues concerning the new wage would be discussed and hopefully, agreement would be reached.”
NAN reports that the programme also had in attendance the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo.
Others included the Guest Speaker, Richard Akinola, and a representative of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Tunde Braimoh.
The National Executives of NUJ from different zones across the country were also present at the programme.
NAN.