The Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Mr. Muslim Folami has urged media practitioners to exhibit a high sense of probity and professionalism in the discharge of their responsibilities of reporting on the activities and achievements of the government in their various communities.
He gave the charge recently while speaking at a two-day training programme organised by the Lagos State government for community media practitioners at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Commissioner applauded members of the Community Media Practitioners for their steadfastness in their reportage of the State government’s programmes and activities, adding that community newspapers are some of the ways that the programmes, projects and policies of the present administration were propagated.
Folami urged all the practitioners not to rest on their oars by continuing to report on all the various programmes being implemented at the grassroots, stressing that they possess the ability to provide in-depth information about occurrences within their communities.
On his part, the Special Adviser to the State Governor on Communities and Communications, Mr. Akeem Sulaimon, advised the practitioners to be conscious of the negative impact of fake news reports prevalent on social media platforms, noting that the deliberate publication of fake news, if uncontrolled, could lead to chaos and disaffection in the country.
According to the Special Adviser, the people at the grassroots depend on the practitioners for reliable and factual information on the various developments within their communities and the activities of government, as such, they should consistently and truthfully report news in order to enjoy the trust of the community residents.
He said the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs would continue to support community media practitioners, adding that their training and retraining were aimed at equipping them with tools needed to be successful in the world of publishing as well as render the needed support in enlightening local residents on government activities.
“The present administration is very aware of the important role the media plays in the socio-economic development of the people and is determined to assist the community media practitioners in fulfilling that role in the interest of the various communities in which they are operating. The government is happy to see that community newspapers have now become a thriving enterprise which is now contributing its own quota to the development of the State and the country as a whole”, he said.
The Director of Social Media in the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Deji Balogun, in his paper, urged community media practitioners to help in managing the information available in the public space in the interest of the public.
Balogun said as professional journalists, community media should always check and recheck the details of information received from their sources, especially when in doubt,charging the publishers to be objective in their reportage, avoid unsubstantiated reports and try to project the activities of the State government in their various publications.