Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has advised journalists in the country to inaugurate a media conference in order to chat the way forward on the operation of new media and modern way of practice.
Ajimobi spoke on Friday at the 2013 Convention of Nigerian Guild of Editors in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
He said the advice was necessary in view of the global influence and popularity of the social media.
He said, “Online journalism is the new way and it guarantees availability and it is easier to engage in. However, this is a threat to hard copy newspaper publication.
“There is a need for journalists to call a conference. If politicians can call political conferences why can’t the media champion a reform in the light of the growing popularity and abuse of the social media?”
He lamented that online publications posed fresh challenges to journalism as non-professionals have infiltrated the platform.
The governor said, “With online or internet publications, people that should ordinarily not be there are coming in everyday. Availability of news online has affected the fortune of newspapers.”
The governor, who expressed delight at the presence of editors in the state, said that but for journalism and the monumental strides of journalists, democracy would not have been a reality in the country.
He attributed his presence at the occasion to the respect he has for season journalists like Chief Olusegun Osoba, Chief Sam Amuka, Ray Ekpu, Tola Adeniyi, Gbenga Adefaye and more.
Ajimobi expressed the hope that as is the practice in America, the media would one day become a parameter to determine who wins an election in the country.
He stated, “Those who refer to journalism as history done in a hurry are right. Journalists write stories that can pass as vital historical documents. Putting such together in books will be beneficial. Our veterans should document their experiences into books.”
Earlier, the outgoing President of the guild, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, said, “Four years ago, we traversed the entire country like politicians, seeking your mandate, making promises to improve the profile of the NGE and not to put you to shame.
“We successfully re-focused the editors on national issues through our flagship, all Nigerian Editors Conference. We built a virtual office and reviewed outstanding reports on our constitution.”
Chairman of the occasion, Ray Ekpu, recalled the role of the media in fight for democracy.
Ekpu stressed the importance of training and retraining for journalists, saying, “As gatekeepers, we face a lot of challenges every day. Our people must brace up to the challenges as the society generally does not like the truth.