BY FELIX IGBEKOYI
Permanent Secretary, Directorate of Government House and Protocol, Sir Edwin Ogidi-Gbegbaje has said in interfacing and promoting the manifestoes of the various political parties, media practitioners should avoid character assassination, the pull him down syndrome, and should act in the public interest, minimizing any information that does no good to the society.
He stated Thursday in Asaba on the occasion of the 4th edition of the Delta State Communication Workshop, (DELCOM), saying they should also be seen to be honest, independent, fair and unbiased as he said the approach deployed by media practitioners in disseminating and managing the barrage of information, to a large extent, determines the corporate existence of a nation.
Speaking on the theme, “Crisis Communication Strategies and Management in Political Power Transition” he said since crisis is an inevitable phenomenon among groups in every society, strategic communication will remain a veritable tool for nipping crisis in the bud.
“How the media report events and happenings to the public will go a long way in creating either positive or negative mindset in the populace. The media must eschew the unethical conduct of misinforming the public. Communication is equally vital in building and sustaining the peace of a nation.
“We are at a critical time in the history of our nation. As we try to build consensus in managing political crises at different levels, my humble appeal to the Press and other Stakeholders in the management of information is that you continue to display professionalism to ensure that we achieve peace and stability in our nation.
“I say this because of the present realities. The Nigeria media space, especially the social media, is inundated with all sorts of unverified news, propaganda, and smear campaigns. As we approach election year, more of these will occupy the media space – spreading of falsehood capable of setting ethnic groups, religious organizations, individuals and political parties, against themselves.
While saying communication through the various media platforms, continues to evolve, due to development in information technology, he stated that communication remains central to human existence. It is at the root of survival of families, groups, organizations, communities and nations.
“Therefore, crisis communication strategies and management in political power transition, involves the methods adopted by media practitioners to elicit, process, disseminate and manage information required to mitigate emerging crisis within the nation’s polity as we move into the 2023 elections.
“The theme is also timely in view of the need to effectively manage the dissemination of information for the overall good of the nation, especially as political parties are set to sell their manifestoes to the electorates. It is quite apt, given the pivotal role the media; the fourth estate of the realm, plays in the scheme of things”
The seasoned Rotarian who recommended the 4-Way Test as a universal paradigm in dealing with communication crisis in any situation asked “When we put pen to paper, what is our story line? Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
DELCOM Coordinator and Executive Assistant (Communications) to the Governor of Delta State, Olorogun Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe said his office is organizing the capacity building programme, an annual event designed to equip media practitioners, communication appointees of government, social media influencers, bloggers, etc.
Chief Trainer, erudite presenter and communication strategist, Prof Abigail Odozi Ogwezzy also stated that at the end of the workshop, participants would have been equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills in meeting the challenges of communications in the 21st Century as well as function effectively in their assigned responsibilities.