By Temitope Adedeji
As part of activities marking the 2021 Press week in Ondo State, members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in the state have been charged to promote good governance, religious tolerance and understanding among the diverse elements of the state.
This charge was made in a lecture delivered by a former Commandant, National Defence College, Abuja, Rear Admiral Samuel Ilesanmi Alade (rtd) at the opening ceremony of the event, who spoke on the topic, “A Nation at crossroads:The Media amidst National Security and Economic Woes” on Tuesday.
He explained roles of the media in dissemination of factual information and preventing the spread of false information that will invariably enhance national security.
Alade stated that the strategic importance of the media in influencing the outcome of national affairs makes it an important tool for national security and development.
The APC Ondo North Senatorial aspirant added that there was a task before the media to ensure that their reports promote national security to bring economic stability.
“Globally, nations use various ways and means to ensure the well-being and security of their citizens. In achieving this, they employ all strategic resources at their disposal including the efficient use of the media. Over the years, the media has remained a veritable channel through which countries inform their citizens and the world of their activities, decisions and policies, which have direct bearing on national security and interest.
“The media consists of all the means and platforms used in communication and broadcasting events, programmes and activities in a country. It is categorized into various forms including the print, social and electronic, examples of which are television, radio, newspapers and magazines, amongst others.
“Due to its wide usage, the media strongly influence the dynamics and outcomes of conflicts and accounts for why parties to a conflict aim to exploit the media to foster their goals, activities and objectives. It is within this context that countries and security agencies seek to use the media as a viable option in conflict resolution.
“The media should consider national security implications of what they broadcast at this time when technology has put a big question mark on the practice of journalism as everybody is now involved in reporting and editing. Technological advancement in this Twenty First Century has revolutionized the mode of human communication and perception in modern societies.
“The media is usually employed to inform the public about national security concerns such as civil strife agitations and conflicts. It is also employed in promoting good governance, religious tolerance and understanding among the diverse elements of the state.
“National security implies the protection of all facets of the State such as its values, territory, people as well as socio-economic and political institutions and facilities. National security also forms the basis for economic growth and development of a nation. This is because a peaceful nation encourages foreign and domestic investors to operate freely without tension or apprehension.”
Alade added that, “Radio and television are essential organs for national development and should, therefore, be used for the promotion of Nigerian’s cultural, economic and political development. As the media utilizes the airwaves, which belong to the public, the broadcasting media should be used to improve and promote unity and security of the people of the nations.
“The role of media in managing Nigeria’s national security is very crucial. In fact, they are key players in the field. The media function as watchdogs capable of blowing the whistle to call attention to serious national issues.
“The issue of national security is now a monumental challenge as it impacts on the economy, socio-cultural and political development and national image including citizen’s mental and psychological well-being. It is indeed a desperate situation that needs desperate action for the country to experience appreciable socio-economic development. All of this may have not been fact-checked and could mislead the public.
“The effective use of the media does better than harm to the government and the citizenry therefore enhancing economic growth and national security”
He however enjoined the union to use their influence to teach, enlighten and to pursue causes to serve humanity and never to manipulate the feelings of the ignorant majority.
In a remark, the Chairman of Ondo NUJ, Comrade Adetona Aderoboye, who commended the guest lecturer and the Chairman of the Occasion, Chief Matthew Oyerinmade MATO, for doing justice to the topic, expressed delight that journalists in the state were making progress in the last one year despite the security and economic challenges facing the country.
Highlight of the opening ceremony was the Presentation of awards to the wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu; and the rector, Federal Polytechnic, Ile-Oluji, Mr Emanuel Adedayo.