Since politics and media are inseparable, and the ultimate target of political gladiators is media attention, it has become expedient for the mass media to be careful about the antics and performances of politicians who may be using them for selfish reasons.
This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the Professor Nkereuwem Udoakah Conference on Political Communication and National Development.
In the communique co-signed by the Chairman, Conference Organising Committee, Prof. Uwem Akpan, and the Chairman, Conference Communique Drafting Committee, Dr Godspower Udoh, the conference insisted that the media must be more purposive in their coverage of politicians, since those who want to acquire power always find a way to influence media production.
“There is a need to take a second looks at the concept and practice if press freedoms because ‘Nigerian freedom of the press’ is paradoxically the freedom enjoyed by the politically and economically powerful owners of the press.
“Since the structure of political Communication in Nigeria is elitist, circulation of fake news and prevalence if hate speech have become the order if the day, especially in social media platforms either created or subscribed to by ubiquitous political gladiators,” it read in part.
From the communique obtained by this outfit, the conference urged professional communicators and driver’s of the country’s democracy to work together for improved national development, citing the centrality if the mass media in political development and democracy.
They regret that unequal access to and unequal benefits to the media have been the order of the day among citizenry, as people who control political power are controllers of major media outlets and by extension, economic controllers.
The communique further reads, “it was high time governments hired the services of experts in political communication, as a field, is gaining more importance and relevance.
“In the spirit of the recent World Teachers’ Day celebration, the conference calls on the Federal Government to prioritize the welfare of teachers and entrench such a priority in the Constitution.”
They commended the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudoh Ndaeyo, for gracing the occasion, as well as, providing enabling environment to a successful hosting.
While the conference appreciated Prof. Udoakah’s contributions toward the growth of the department, it commended the Department of Communication Arts for organizing what it described as a rewarding conference in honour if an academic patriarch in Nigeria.