By Ogbonna Casmir, Enugu
A chieftain of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo, has called on journalists to desist from promoting corrupt politicians through image laundry stories.
Okonkwo said this in a speech on Thursday during the inauguration of the new Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Correspondents’ Chapel secretariat in Enugu.
The title of the speech is “The Power of the Media Journalism, is Not for Public Relations’’.
He noted that every trained journalist must understand and differentiate between journalism and public relations.
“Obviously, the problem the press (journalist) is having with the society, and the politicians stem from when the journalist abandons his job description and assumes that of a public relations practitioner,’’ he said.
According to him, a journalist is responsible for gathering and selecting information with the primary purpose of educating the public with news.
“This news is not meant to sway the public opinion in a certain direction.
“Because of this, journalists write for a mass audience, and publish their work through only one medium depending on where they work,’’ he said.
The UPP chieftain said that the job of journalists had now been expanded to fight corruption in the political parties, because “that is the foundation of corruption in Nigeria’s leadership.
“I enjoin the journalist to take a look at our electoral laws and the Nigerian Constitution to challenge our party managers for them to shun corruption and pursue excellence.
“I charge the press (journalists) to educate the citizens to defend democracy and reject corrupt tendencies,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Chairman NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel Enugu, Mr Petrus Obi, said that the feat the chapel achieved had been with the support of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; adding that the governor had given due recognition to journalists.
Obi said that his executive had achieved its campaign promises of renting an office, buying a bus and up-lifting the welfare of members of the chapel in general.
In the inauguration, the chapel honoured Prince Lawrence Eze, an illustrious and royal from Mburubu community in Nkanu East LGA for his philanthropical gestures and community development efforts.
Responding after receiving “Award of Excellence for Community Service’’, Eze urged journalists to continue to hold leaders accountable for the growth, development and welfare of the people.
“As the chairman of the chapel had kept his election promises; so likewise each politician must strive to keep their promises and bond with the people,’’ he said