A media guru, Alhaji Liadi Tella has called for professionalism of journalism practice in the country to take the profession out of ‘enslavement’.
Tella, who was a former editor of the defunct Concord Press Newspapers and Managing Director of Monitor Newspapers, gave the charge in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital while answering questions on a Radio Kwara personality interview programme, “Playing Host”.
He suggested that the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) should back away from the Guild of Editors describing the guild as a lame dog that is under the ambit of the owner of the media organisation.
According to him, there is always collaboration between the Guild of editors and some media owners because they would always protect their jobs at the detriment of reporters’ welfare, lamenting that most journalists have not received their salaries for over two years and several others without appointment letters.
Alhaji Tella, who is also a Senior Research Fellow, Mass Communication Department, Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences, University of Ilorin regretted that journalism in Nigeria should be run as a professional body as applicable in the NBA, NMA and other professional bodies that have regulatory councils in the country.
The veteran journalist disclosed that the Nigerian Press Council , the Guild of Editors and the NUJ made a grievous technical mistake by standing up against the Nigerian Press Council Act which they claimed would stifle freedom of opinion and freedom of the press but rather, he said such act was in cognisance with the principle of justice and best practices in journalism globally.
Alhaji Tella commended Nigerian journalists for fighting for the independence, sustenance and restoration of democracy as well as for fighting corruption, intimidation and lawlessness.
Ahead of the 2019 polls, he cautioned journalists to keep their heads and integrity while reporting electoral matters and to maintain decorum and fairness in their reportage warning that election will come and go but the unity of the country must be paramount in the discharge of our duties.
He also implored media practitioners to apply the ethics of the profession without crossing the boundary of partisanship.
According to him, the military technically destroyed journalism and the media due to undue interference of the output of journalism while the freedom to publish was curtailed and draconian and obnoxious laws such as decree four were passed, journalists were jailed and newspaper houses were closed down.