Taraba Speaker tasks journalists on professionalism; seeks more partnership
The Speaker, Taraba State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joseph Albasu Kunini has described the role of the media since 1999 as pivotal and commendable.
Kunini stated this when he hosted members of the Correspondents’ Chapel and other journalists in the state for the annual end of year Dinner held in Jalingo recently.
He said in the United States whose system of democracy Nigeria was emulating, the Press is called the Fourth Pillar of Democracy because of the important role it plays in shaping public opinions.
The Speaker noted that democracy is hinged on three pillars namely, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary; but now the Media also plays pivotal role as the Fourth Pillar of democracy.
According to him, for a democratic country to operate its system to its full potential, the participation of the public is imperative; and that successively needs circulation of information to the masses and the purveyor of such information is the Press.
“Parhaps, it is because of the pivotal role the Media play that the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) made provision in Section 22 that,
“The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.
“Indeed, it was the 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson who stoutly argued that he preffered the Press to Government when he was quoted saying, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Kunini quoted.
Rt. Hon. Dr. Joseph Kunini appealed to the journalists in the state while carrying out their contitutional role as the mirror of the society, to endeavor at all times to be decorous and dispassionate, by observing the Code of Ethics of the pen profession.
“The Media practitioners should shun all forms of Yellow Journalism which emphasizes sensationalism over facts, as in the case of the New or Social Media which do not report news with facts, but embellish such with exaggerated facts and peddling rumours on personalities and knotty National issues.
“Gentlemen of the Press, let me also comment on another knotty issue: the Legislative-Executive relationship which has occupied the front burner of the National discuss. The Legislative-Executive relations in the presidential system like ours have attracted wide variety of viewpoints and vituperations,
“both about the conflicts and cooperation. While a school of thought believes that the 3 arms if government namely, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary should strictly observe the Principle of the Separation of Powers for the democracy to thrive,
“another schools of thought argues that there is no county in the world that observes strict observation of the Principle of Serration of Powers in the polity.” Kunini agreed with the second school of thought.
He pointed out that frosty relationship between the Legislature and the Executive is not only injurious to democratic consolidation, but also treacherous to political development.
However, in an effort to ensuring that the fundamental rights of the citizens are protected, the Speaker revealed that a day to his one year anniversary in office (precisely 1st December, 2020), he sponsored and presented a bill titled, The Taraba State Violence and Discrimination Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill, 2020.
The bill, according to him, which contained 43 chapters has undergone first reading, adding that there are severe punishments of the offenders and expressed passionate to see that it passed into law soonest.