The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma has urged Nigerian journalists to make it a point of duty to report Nigerian culture with the facts it deserves.
Making this call in a lecture he delivered in the Faculty of Arts 2011 annual conference in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, he told news men that exaggeration of a people’s culture is detrimental to the growth and development of that society.

The event which took place in the University’s Auditorium had the former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr. Alex  Ekwueme, the  Senate President, Sen. David Mark, pro-chancellor and chairman Governing Council, Dr. Sen. Ukpanah, Vice-Chancellor, UNZIK, Prof. Boniface Egboka,  Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. B.C. Okeke, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof J.E. Ahaneku, Provost, College of Health Sciences, Prof. Okey Ikpeze, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Dan Agu among others in attendance. The theme of the conference is The Humanities and Sustainable Development.

In his lecture, titled “Media and Culture in Nigeria’s Sustainable Development: The NICO Initiative” which he delivered at the Faculty of Arts Complex, he counselled that to avoid exaggeration in the report of culture: “it is good for the reporters to be present at the venue of a culture event.” He lamented the situation where many journalists deceive themselves through their reports by not being present in the event, saying they rely on the reports of their colleagues who will syndicate the stories to them, and as they are reworking such stories they commit blunder, which is detrimental to cultural development, and opined that: “this should be avoided as it is unethical in journalism practice. It is better to be at the venue of an event. For instance to report Osun Osogbo Festival, the arts reporter must be in Osogbo to witness the festival and find a good angle that will engender development.”

Suggesting the approaches to adopt to avoid such improper conduct, he directed his talk to arts and culture journalist in Nigeria, as he passionately stated: “The point needs to be emphasized. The media needs to make tremendous and effective contribution in promoting culture for sustainable development; there is need for the media to play the role of gate-keepers, watchdogs and moderators. The arts, literary and review pages of national newspapers in Nigeria should    participate, initiate, and even stir up cultural and literary debates. This because  is difficult to imagine how development programmes, which arts and culture reporters focus on, can be visible in the society without the media highlighting them to help achieve effective development. The approaches to be adopted by media men are interview method, vox pop, on the spot reporting, computer literacy, be a voracious reader, training and attending of conferences etc.”

The cultural administrator reminded the culture journalists the areas to beam their reportorial searchlights on in pursuance of their stories on culture so that developments can be sustained.  These he said includes dress culture, language, sports culture, instanmatic lifestyle, ostentatious living and religious intolerance etc.

The NICO boss disclosed that it is to make sure that media achieved the deserved results in culture reporting that (NICO) initiated quarterly media workshops for arts editors and writers in Nigeria. “The workshop provides a veritable platform for arts and culture Journalists to learn from veterans, enhance the job performance of in-house media practitioners in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and provide an avenue for collaboration with international agencies for the culture sector to gain relevance. The role of the media is to identify the aspects of Nigerian culture which deserves its attention and emphasize their import to the people, so that they would preserve, maintain and uphold such. This attention from the media will act as an impetus to create a synergy aimed at effectively propagating sustainable development of the culture sector.”

Nwagbo Nnenyelike
Corporate Affairs