Nigeria Guild of Editors on Tuesday said there was need for the Federal Government to overhaul its economic architecture in order to address the sagging economy.
NGE made the call in a communiqué co-signed by the President, Mustaph Isah, and the General Secretary, Mary Atolagbe, at the end of the 15th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference held in Sokoto.
The communiqué said the group noted that overhauling Nigeria’s economic architecture would also increase the revenue streams of the nation.
It said that NGE discovered that Nigeria’s dwindling economic fortune had contributed to the distress in the media industry, thus the urgent call for an overhaul.
It said that NGE also emphasised the need for serious capital injection into the media industry to overcome under capitalisation and dearth of media businesses.
“In the wake of the palpable distress in Nigeria’s media industry and its attendant consequences on the journalists, government and the Nigerian society, members of NGE gathered in Sokoto.
“This is to deliberate on the theme `A Distressed Media: Impact on Government, Governance and the Society’.’’
NGE in its communiqué also expressed concern over the proposed fake news and hate speech bills before the National Assembly.
The editors drew the attention of both the National Assembly and the Federal Government to the fact that there were already existing and enough laws to check fake news and hate speeches in whatever guise.
It added that it was inappropriate for any other law to come in place to interfere with press freedom in the country’s developing democracy.
The Guild canvassed the need for diversification, improved funding, collaboration, specialised journalism education programmes, newsroom re-engineering among other innovations necessary for revenue generation and sustenance of media businesses.
The NGE also identified ownership interference as a key factor militating against free operation of the media in the country.
The Guild, therefore, advised owners of both public and private media organisations to pay more attention to facilitating the smooth operations of the media as truly business outfits.
The editors condemned all dictatorial tendencies against the media and stressed the need to collectively fight against all media abuses by non professionals.
The group frowned at all attempts to punish conventional media for the wrongs of non professionals on the social media platforms.
The Guild called for the immediate release of all detained journalists across the country, stating that democracy thrived better in countries that cherished and promoted media freedom
The NGE resolved to set up a committee to prepare for its 50th anniversary and come up with a compendium to showcase its activities since inception.
“NGE ratified the election of Mr Mustapha Isah as the substantive President of the Guild, following the appointment of Mrs Funke Egbemode as a Commissioner in the State of Osun,’’ it stated.
The Guild commended the government of Sokoto State for the rapid growth and acceleration of infrastructure development across the state.
It also commended the state for the widespread human capital development programmes in the areas of free education, sponsorship of indigent students regardless of their origin as well as initiatives for improved medicare for the people.
The NGE further expressed its appreciation to the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, for hosting and supporting the Guild to have a successful conference.