Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Monday, urged the Nigerian media to embark on lawful investigative journalism to hold the government accountable to the people.
Osinbajo’s position followed a 2-day Editorial Conference organised by Daily Trust Foundation in collaboration with Centre For Media Law and Development and MacArthur Foundation titled, “Legal and Ethical issues in Investigative Journalism in Nigeria”.
The vice president added that with self-regulation, media practitioners can check fake news and address the failings of news reporting in the country.
He said, “We should be careful of over regulation of the media. Self-regulation is the best mode of regulating the media. If this is enough, we would have less or no government regulation.
“The media should set for itself an ethical benchmark, by appointing an ombudsman that would be paid by the media organisations and not by the government.
“This would help the media to hold itself accountable and ensure fair reporting. With self regulation, media practitioners can check fake news and address the failings of news reporting.”
Osinbajo lamented that the act of investigative journalism had been sacrificed on the altar of news reporting.
Further, he remarked that the resurgence of investigative journalism has become more important given the alleged spate of fake news during the last general elections.
According to him, “the media no longer crosscheck claims and facts as presented by individuals, meaning investigative journalism have been relegated to the background.
“Journalists should strive to abide by their code of ethics, unless, no investigative journalism in whatever form can thrive. However, investigative journalism should be careful not to go contrary to the laws of the land.
“We are living in interesting time. The free press has arrived at its best time. Everyone of us can have access to our own media.
“This is the age of social and fake news that can spread like wild fire. The press can make government more accountable through investigative journalism”.
Dignitaries who attended the conference are the Daily Trust Foundation, Mallam Wada Maida; Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, Mr. Kole Shettima, Director (Africa) MacArthur Foundation; Mr, Mannir Dan-Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Daily Trust and Mr. Charles Odenigbo, Director General, Centre for Media Law and Development, Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria, VON, Mr. Osita Okechukwu and Chairman, BON, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, among others tasked journalists on the accuracy of their reportage.