Reporter : UCHE NDEKE
Journalists have been enjoined to write balanced, fair and honest stories despite pressures from the political class.
The first female professor of Mass Communications in Nigeria and former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Chinyere Okunna, made the call during the Anambra Media Roundtable and Awards organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State council.
The event featured presentation of prizes to the winners of Professor Chinyere Okunna Ethical Journalism Award, maiden edition.
The Annual Prize, which was instituted by Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna, is aimed at promoting Excellence and High Ethical Standards in Journalism Practice in the State.
Mr. David Eleke of ThisDay Newspapers came first with his report on “Travails of Awaiting Trial Inmates in Anambra State.”
Gabriel CHI- Alonta of Orient Daily Newspapers took the First Runner Up position with the story entitled: “Torture as an Instrument for Extracting Forced Confession from Suspects,” while Uche Ndeke of Radio Nigeria came Second Runner Up with his story on “Unreported Rape Cases in Anambra State” done in 2019.
According to the Chairman of the Award Committee and Managing Director, National Light Newspapers, Mr. Chuka Nnabuife, seventeen entries and nomination were made from the broadcast and print media as well as online publishers.
Mr. Nnabuife noted that the stories sent in by the journalists for considerations were classic as they all met the required standards for investigative reporting and ethical conducts.
“The beneficiaries did a thorough investigation, and I encourage other journalists to borrow a leaf from such reports.
“The keenly contested prize was worth it. Let me congratulate the winners for eventually emerging after a rigorous process, which took cognisant of balance, creativity, relevance, currency, among others,” Mr. Nnabuife stated.
Presenting the prizes to the three winners, who emerged in the competition, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-DON Adinuba, who was represented on the occasion, called on journalists to uphold the tenets of their profession through their reportage.
Professor Stella Okunna, who described journalism as one of the most powerful profession on earth, called on journalists to wild the powers with lot of ethical conduct and re orientation.
According to Prof. Okunna, being able to resist the pressure from within while writing a story is the bedrock why the annual Chinyere Okunna Ethical Journalism award was instituted to encourage practicing members.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Anambra State Council, Comrade Emma Ifesinachi, said the political actors in Nigeria had always seen the media as enemies and rivals hence the Media Round Table aimed at bringing the government and journalists together to discuss their constitutional roles in a democracy.
In a remark, the President of NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, who was represented by the Acting Vice President, South East zone, Comrade Kenneth Ofoma, commended Professor Okunna for her selfless contributions towards promoting Ethics and Values of the profession.
The Union also used the occasion to recognize Dr. Godwin Maduka as Man of the year for his philanthropic contributions to the society, especially in the area of human capital development and empowerment.