By Efa Sunday
A Public Relations expert, Mrs. Nkechi-Ali Balogun has charged members of the Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to remain committed to the ethics of their profession while discharging their duties in order to prevent a break down of law and order.
Balogun stated this Saturday in Calabar during the inauguration of new executives of the NIPR in the State where she outlined the prospects and challenges of internet journalism in the narration of electoral processes.
“We know that the importance of the borderless media, talking about the media whose reach are limitless, the online news platforms and the social media, cannot be over-emphasized.
“Their audience is beyond a particular geographical location. Their news spreads like wild fire. It is therefore important for us to always make sure that we deliver accurate, objective and fair report, that cannot mislead the public,” Balogun said while delivering the keynote address on the topic: “Shaping Election Narrative With The Power of the Borderless Media: The PR Practitioner’s Responsibility.”
According to her, internet journalism has availed the public the much sought opportunity of expressing their thoughts without the fear of being arrested, which is why in Nigeria alone, about 57.7 million people have access to the internet.
This, she said was evident on its impact on the 2015 general elections. “In 2015, every bit of the presidential election was captured and transmitted live online, even before the INEC officials announced the results,” she said.
While calling on members to develop good relationships with the public, Balogun averred that: “They (the public) may have good hints that may likely help in the proper dissemination of political and electoral reports.”
Furthermore, Balogun who is a PR Golden Eagle awardee challenged the practitioners to discharge their duties of awareness creation, education and persuasion with their conscience while bearing in mind that: “accurate facts do not equate to truth.”
The new executives comprised Mrs. Ani Offiong as chairman, Mr. Benedict Okache as her vice; Mr. Effiom Emmanuel Bassey as the general secretary and Mrs. Eba Agbor-Christopher as the assistant general secretary.
Others are Mrs. Henrietta Etuk as the treasurer; Miss Augustina Ehihia as financial secretary and Mr. Daniel Williams as internal auditor.
In her acceptance speech, Mrs. Offiong promised to deliver on their mandate with the welfare of members as priority.
Also, she pledged to operate with an open door policy even as she hoped that the refurbishing of the State secretariat will be completed soon.
The president and chairman of the NIPR governing council, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo in his remarks, lamented the low turnout of the members for the dinner and award night. Also, he enjoined them to be purposely united.
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