Refrain from falsehood, blackmail, Cleric urges media practitioners 

By Olatunde Ajayi
A Cleric, Pastor Joseph Akinade, of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Eagle’s Wings Assembly, Iyana Church, Ibadan, has charged media practitioners in Nigeria to refrain from blackmail and false news.

Akinade said this in his sermon at a service held on Sunday to kick off the 2023 Press Week of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council.

Akinade, in his sermon entitled: ‘Role of Journalists in Nation Building’, noted that false report could bring down individuals, organisations, institutions, government and the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the press week is an annual event by NUJ that seeks to create a platform for journalists to deliberate on emerging issues affecting the media, the industry, the economy and the polity.

The 2023 Press Week is themed: ‘Nigerian Economy: Reimagining Education System for the Fifth Industrial Revolution.’

According to him, journalists must be constructive and not destructive in their news reportage.

“It is important for journalists to always stand on the truth and not causing mayhem in the society with their reports.

“You must be fair to all parties in news reportage and ensure that you balance your news by getting all the necessary angles,” the cleric said.

Akinade warned media practitioners against fabrication of stories and character assassination for personal or financial gain, saying that anybody indulging in such practices risk the repercussion in the future.

NAN reports that the wife of the cleric, Evang. Bukola Akinade, a gospel music artiste, led the journalists in praise and worship.

Chairman of NUJ in the state, Ademola Babalola, in his remarks, said the press week was an opportunity for journalists to learn from experts in various fields, network and share experiences with their colleagues across the country.

“As journalists, we have critical roles to play in shaping the society.

“Our duty goes beyond informing, educating and entertaining. We must hold those in power accountable, expose corruption and ensure that the society is better for all,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman, Press Week Planning Committee, Mr Akeem Abas, thanked members of the union for their support, enjoining them to take part in the remaining activities lined up for the week.

Highlights of the event were cutting of the anniversary cake and reception organised by Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Seyi Makinde, Sulaiman Olanrewaju.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the state, Prince Dotun Oyelade, also joined the NUJ to kick-start the press week, ahead of the official opening on Monday.

The dignitaries in attendance included the National Trustee of NUJ, Bayo Akamo; Vice-Chairman of NUJ in the state, Seye Ojo; Secretary, Sola Oladapo; Treasurer, Akeem Abas, and the Financial Secretary, Abiodun Atilola.

Others were a former Vice President, ‘B’ Zone of the union, Cosmas Oni; Assistant National Secretary of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Yinka Bode-Are and Chairperson of NAWOJ in the state, Jadesola Ajibola, among others.

NAN reports that Gov. Seyi Makinde is expected to officially declare the press week open on Monday. (NAN)