By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The leadership of Arewa Online Publishers Association has given members, a pat on the back, for the professional excellence exhibited so far since the Outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic in Nigeria.
A statement issued by the Ag. Coordinator General of the Association, Joseph Edegbo noted that although journalists in the country have become unsung heroes, they remain committed to nationalism, a task that must be sustained.
“The fact remains that the key role being played by the media in general in the task of curtailing the pandemic is unquantifiable.
“It is sad to note that the Federal Government seems to be unmindful of how broadcast stations (‘Radio/TV) as well as the print media are toiling to sustain services to serve the public amidst the prevailing situation,” the group said.
The statement said that It is against this background, the association is asking both the federal and state governments to practically demonstrate that the media is among the front lines in the fight against the pandemic by dolling out Special Palliatives and stop paying lip service.
On its part, the association enjoined members to strive to engage in Investigative journalism in view of the claims and counter claims associated with the struggle to curtail the pandemic either from individuals or organisations.
“The purchase and distribution of Palliatives sourced from public funds, the alleged questionable implementation of the school feeding Programme and welfare of patients at Isolation centres among others should attract our microscope or journalistic competence.
“This move, should be considered necessary as almost all the Stories on COVID-19 emanate from government and its agencies with less findings from journalists.
“We can now quite agree that the much complaints of Fake News by government and its agencies have disappeared this time around because of the one-way traffic in our reportage,” it added.
While acknowledging some of its colleagues who are spokespersons for State Governors, like Borno, Kano, Niger and Zamfara States, for feeding the AOPA platform that serves as a common pool with their stories, the association urged others to do same for wider spread of their stories.
“Members of the Association across the states should encourage the CPS or Director of Media to utilize the opportunity provided by the platform.
“AOPA also encourages lifting each others’ stories which should however be credited to the source,” it concluded.