Delta State Governor Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has charged community-based publishers to practice responsible journalism and avoid promoting ethnic conflicts, which he claimed have raged for some time now.
He said his administration is poised to ensuring peaceful co-existence among the multi-ethnic groups in the state.
Uduaghan gave the charge during a courtesy visit by members of the Association of Community Newspapers Publishers of Nigeria (ACNPN), Delta State at Government House, Asaba.
While enjoining them to ensure that their news reports were correct and balanced at all times and devoid of fanning the embers of disunity, the Governor told them to act as social reformers by helping to reduce hatred between various ethnic groups.
He further charged them to be a bridge between the government and the proletarian, stressing the need for them to set agenda on inter-ethnic harmony.
“Let us be conscious in our reporting because inter-ethnic hatred is building up and the magnitude is high.”
He explained that community newspapers publishers have the leverage and the potentials to unite the people rather than fanning the embers of hatred.
The governor however appealed to them to practice development journalism to create mutual commitment with government towards nurturing the nascent democracy.
“You are close to the grassroot and we will support you to do your job well, so that the rural populace will be adequately informed.”
The governor also charged them to assist in monitoring those who encourage sharp practices in primary and post primary schools as well as in hospitals to check sabotage of the free antenatal, post natal and education programmes of the state government.
In his address, the Chairman of the Association, Comrade Femi Odonmeta (Chief Olegwa) said the Association shared a mutual commitment with the Uduaghan Administration and would assist the government in protecting and nurturing the nascent democracy to greater heights.
He stated that the cardinal objective of the association was to promote love, peaceful co-existence among all ethnic nationalities in the state, adding that the Three Point Agenda of the administration, namely Peace and Security, Infrastructure Development and Human Capital Developmental had greatly impacted positively on the lives of Deltans and urged Governor Uduaghan not to relent in his efforts to leave a lasting legacy for Deltans and bring more dividends of democracy to the people, as he moves to complete his second term as Governor of Delta State.
“Our effort is geared towards the development of the state and we will shun every negative tendency that will undermine these goals.”
Present at the meeting were the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Barr. Chike Ogeah, the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Mr. Tony Obuh, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Sunny Ogefere, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr. Sunny Areh, and Mrs. Constance Okwudishi (Media aide to the Governor) amongst others.