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Oyo Information Summit: Media stakeholders call for restraint on inflammatory reports

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- Funmi Olaitan, Ibadan

Media stakeholders numbering over 800, who converged in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, for the maiden edition of Oyo State government Information Summit, on Wednesday, cautioned media practitioners from reporting inciting as well as divisive messages that could lead to chaos and precipitate anarchy in the country.

The two-day summit, which had in attendance Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, his counterpart from Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, media chiefs, media regulatory agencies, government functionaries, public relations practitioners, Information Officers, Communication lecturers, reporters, broadcasters, lawyers, communication students and others, advocated the promotion of language for peace and stability in the country by media organizations.

In a communiqué issued at the end of the summit with the theme, “Managing Information & Communications: the Catalyst for Sustainable Development, stakeholders called for effective monitoring of media houses by various regulatory agencies, noting that strict compliance with regulations guiding the ethics of the media profession should be followed.

The communique read in part, “After a careful examination of issues addressed on past and current Nigerian socio-political milieu, the Summit condemned inflammatory statements and narratives from different parts of the country on media channels as well as linguistic or extra linguistic acts that can spur hatred and unnecessary tension. Nigerian media should encourage the use of positive languages to promote peace and harmony in the society”.

The communiqué also added that there should be regulation of Online Publishers through legislation as well as registration of bloggers and online publishers, stating that there is need for synergy between government and media practitioners as catalysts for sustainable development in Nigeria.

Participants at the summit lauded Oyo State government for organizing the summit, explaining that it offered the opportunity for stakeholders to examine challenges in the practice of Information and Communication management, consequently calling for a regular Information summit of this nature, twice in a year.

“There should be periodic training and mentoring for Media Practitioners and Information managers, provision of necessary working tools for media practitioners, in line with modern trend in the industry, in addition to the revival and sustenance of the culture of professionalism among media Practitioners", it stated.

Participants however charged media owners to pay more attention to the welfare of media practitioners and information managers, with a clarion call for the speedy commissioning of Oyo State Archive nearing construction.

It would be recalled that Governor Ajimobi, while declaring the summit open on Tuesday, noted that being objective is one of the most difficult things to be in life, enjoining media practitioners to ensure that they correctly and factually inform the people so that the government and the people can always walk in the same direction.

He stated that efforts to bridge the information and communication gap, address lack of professionalism and ethical standards, led to organising the Information Summit saying, "Our answer is this maiden edition of Oyo State Council on Information Summit with the theme: Managing information and communications: the catalyst for sustainable development. It is convened by the Oyo state government for stakeholders in the media profession, to exchange views and ideas and to seek ways of improvement."

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