Veteran journalist and former governor of Ogun state, Chief Segun osoba, has called for massive participation of journalists at the forthcoming public hearing on the Hate speech bill in Abuja.
Osoba made the call, yesterday, in Lagos, at the public presentation of two books, The Gatekeepers Vol 2 and Nigeria Journalism: 160 years of advancing Accountability, Promoting public interest and speaking truth to power, by a publication, Posterity Media. Osoba who was chairman of the event used the opportunity to call on journalists to do all they can to ensure the hate speech bill is not passed because of the dangers it portend for free speech. He admonished the media against jettisoning its role of promoting public interest, no matter the level of intimidation. He said: “Hate speech bill is anti free speech and we should not allow it to stand. Every journalist should find his or her way to Abuja during the public hearing and make sure we shoot it down” He also charged trained journalists to take over the social media and wrench the space from mediocres who parade the space as journalists without formal training. He said such people are the people giving the media bad names and that time had come for trained journalists to take back their profession and run quacks out of the system. The event which also featured Gatekeepers Award, saw the Vanguard Editor, Eze Anaba honoured with Special Posterity Gatekeepers Award, for his patriotic contributions to journalism and development in Nigeria. He was honoured alongside other prominent media professionals, like Lagos state Commissioner for Information and Strategy and former Editor of the Nation Newspapers, Gbenga Omotosho, former Editor, The Guardian, Abraham Ogbodo, Editorial board chair, ThisDay, Segun Adeniyi, former Editor Saturday Punch, Olabisi Deji-Folutile, Editor, Sunday Telegraph, Juliet Bumah among others. Earlier, Chief Executive Officer/ Publisher Posterity Media, Mr O’Femi Kolawole, said the event was put together to celebrate the 20 Nigerian Editors and media leaders whose biographical works, inspiring contributions to good governance and democracy formed the Gatekeepers Volume 2. He said while the book and the awards will encourage and motivate the Editors and media leaders to do more and continue to keep up the great works, it will inspire young journalists and aspiring ones to embrace journalism with full confidence. When false publications may amount to criminal libel He said the second book, Nigeria Journalism: 160 years of advancing Accountability, promoting the public interest and speaking truth to power, is a series of essays and articles by top journalists and media activists, proffering ideas and insights on how to improve journalism practice in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.