Journalism: Press Council calls for new Code of Ethics

The Nigerian Press Council has stressed the need for a new Code of Ethics to enhance modern professionalism and address the current trend of quackery in the country’s media industry.
Stella Jibril, Director of Research and Documentation of NPC, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
Jibril explained that the existing Code of Ethics came into existence over 20 years ago from the Ilorin Declaration, adding that many things have changed and thus the need for a review.
She said: “The Ilorin Declaration had about 16 articles, which includes accuracy, balance, truth, no exposure of minors among others.
“But with the advancement of technology and most especially the internet, the existing Code of Ethics cannot be our guide in the current practice of journalism.
“Our prayer is, let the stakeholders come together, look at the modern trend in journalism practice and put up a code that would be beneficial to the prints, electronics, online and bloggers.
“There is no profession that does not have code of ethics, which are agreed by the norms that would guide everybody. Even families have ethics. So we are looking forward to a brand new code of ethics to guide us.
“It is not the responsibility of NPC to bring out the ethics, but rather that of the stakeholders. 
“We are custodian, when it is being done, we can facilitate, but we don’t produce the codes.
“It is the practitioners themselves who will come together and bring out the codes that they want to guide them in their practice, we only regulate.”
On whether the media in the country are adhering to the existing code of ethics, the NPC Director expressed concern over the attitude of some of the media practitioners concerning the code of ethics.
She said: “From our monitoring exercise, we discovered that most Nigerian journalists do not pay attention to the code of ethics; most times they don’t, but we can do better.”
On safety of journalists in the country, Jibril explained that security consciousness and self preservation have always been the ultimate and best way to enhance safety of journalists.
According to her, the work of journalists is to help develop the country in all sphere of human endeavours.
She said: “Your job involves dissemination of information and sometimes, the information you disseminate may not be in the interest of everybody.
“You should be very conscious of what you are doing; always be looking over your shoulders but don’t breach the code of ethics. 
“You must adhere to the codes.
“Sometime you may make mistakes as a human being, but let it be that it is a mistake and not just deliberate or intentional.
“But first and foremost obey the laws,” she advised. 
NAN.