THE Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) on Sunday expressed concern over the hate speech bill in the Senate, saying that draconian legislations have no place in Nigeria’s democracy.
The guild also noted that the dwindling economy of the country had contributed to the distress in the media industry.
The NGE in a communique at the end of its conference held at the international conference centre, Sokoto and signed by the president, Mustapha Isah and the general secretary, Mary Atolagbe, said it was wrong for the senate to punish the conventional media for the sins of the social media.
The editors condemned all dictatorial tendencies against the media and stressed the need to collectively fight against all media abuses by non professionals.
The communique frowned at all attempts to punish conventional media for the wrongs of non professionals on the social media platforms.
The NGE also called for the release of all detained journalists across the country, stating that democracy thrives better in countries that cherish and promote media freedom.
Speaking in the theme of the conference, which was “A Distressed Media: Impact on Government, Governance and the Society”, the conference noted that there was a need for the government to overhaul its economic architecture in order to reflate the sagging economy and increase the revenue streams of the nation.
The communique said the conference “canvassed the need for diversification, improved funding, collaboration, specialised journalism education programmes, newsroom re-engineering among other innovations necessary for revenue generation and sustenance of media businesses.
“Emphasised the need for serious capital injection into the media industry to overcome under capitalization and dearth of media businesses.”
The guild added that it identified ownership interference as a key factor militating against the free operation of the media, advising owners of both public and private media organisations to pay more attention to facilitating the smooth operations of the media as truly business outfits.
The conference however resolved to set up a committee to prepare for the 50th anniversary of the NGE and come up with a compendium to showcase its activities since inception.
It also ratified the election of Isah as the substantive president of the Guild, following the appointment of Mrs Funke Egbemode as a commissioner in Osun State.
The editors commended the government of Sokoto state for the “rapid growth and acceleration of infrastructure development across the state, as well as the widespread human capital development programmes in the areas of free education, sponsorship of indigent students regardless of their origin as well as initiatives for improved Medicare for the people.”