To advance free and open journalism in Nigeria and to advocate gender equality, the Nigerian Ministry of Information has teamed up with the Nigerian National Commission for UNESCO, and a two-day workshop was held titled “Impact of Safe Journalism and Gender Equality on Democratic Governance in Nigeria”, bringing together experts, journalists, and activists from the media space. The goal of the 2-day programme is to help journalists overcome obstacles in their profession and to promote gender equality in all facets of society.
Mr. Andrew Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, who was represented at the event by a Director from the Ministry, Mr. Adeoye Adeleye, announced the workshop to be officially open. During his introductory remarks, he stated that the Media had been widely recognised all over the world as “the fourth estate of society” as a whole and that the monitoring duties that they play are regarded as being crucial for democracy as well as effective governance.
Women’s safety and access to accurate information are crucial.
While security is obviously crucial for any news organisation, the protection of female journalists has quickly become one of the most pressing concerns in modern media. Having access to accurate information in real time has the potential to transform people’s worldviews. It’s important to note that journalists across the board worry about their personal safety, but women face unusual risks from things like assault, harassment and discrimination in the workplace and on the field, as well as unfair online attacks.
The UNESCO representative, Ms. Nuhu Yachat, stated in her introductory remarks that inclusiveness is not only an essential human right but also an important requirement for sustainable development and a functioning democracy. They can better represent a variety of viewpoints, elevate women’s voices, and use the media as a force for good in society if they push for gender parity in the media industry. She went on to say that UNESCO’s task as a champion of free expression and freedom of the press is to ensure that journalists work is protected, regardless of where they do their reporting online or offline.
A conducive atmosphere for fair journalism is needed.
In addition, in his goodwill message, Christopher Isiguzo, the national president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, emphasised the need to resolve the difficulties and foster an atmosphere where they can do their work without being threatened or harassed. They need to realise that achieving true democratic rule depends on achieving gender parity. As a result of their gender and their profession, women journalists are frequently the targets of violent assault. Supporting their safety and giving them a platform to voice their opinions will lead to a more balanced media landscape.
Also, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, during his presentation as one of the keynote speakers titled “Safety of Journalists: A Panacea to Sustainable Democracy,” stated that it is impossible for a viable democracy to exist in the absence of healthy media. He brought attention to the things that need to be done in order to foster safe journalism under democratic governments, such as putting forward awareness, collaborating with other agencies as well as institutions, and engaging with member states.
Many obstacles confront journalists from reporting the truth.
Lastly, Dr. Inya Ode discussed in the titled “Standard Ethical Practice of Journalism in Africa and the World,” and emphasised the value of honesty as the foundation of journalism. She outlined the obstacles that journalists confront that prevent them from reporting the truth, such as ownership impact, insecurity, poor pay, a lack of resources, a lack of time, misleading news, citizen journalists, and social media. She asked journalists to make their reporting more sincere by taking into account all of the aspects of the truth.