The Chief of Staff, Government House Bauchi, Dr Aminu Hassan Gamaw has said that his principal, Governor Bala Mohammed okays constructive criticism from the press aimed at strengthening governance and accountability in the state.
Dr Gamawa said this while presenting a keynote address at the maiden International Conference tagged “ICCOMEN22” with the theme “Mass Media, Civic Engagement, Political Participation and the Challenges of Sustainable Democracy” organized by the Mass Communication Department, Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi.
The Chief of Staff said the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed is a government of the people of Bauchi State, hence the need for the government to be welcoming constructive criticism for improvement in critical sectors of the state’s economy.
On the theme of the conference, Dr Gamawa stressed the need for the media to set an agenda for public discussion on ways of providing solutions to societal challenges in order to accelerate development.
To him, media has the potential to enhance people’s access to political participation and facilitate wider-ranging political discourse in addition to fostering mutual understanding among citizens and enjoined stakeholders in the media industry to work towards protecting the image of the profession.
“The role of media in politics is such that it should be properly considered as the fourth branch or “the fourth estate of the realm “. Ascribing the term the fourth estate to journalists and the news outlets for which they work as members of the fourth estate, is an acknowledgement of their influence and status among the greatest powers of a nation.
“The communication of political information is an important process in the political system, and the mass media plays a central role in this activity. This is because democracies are often dependent on information, and awareness among the public and communities.”
The Chief of Staff tasked the mass communication department in the polytechnic to work out modalities of equipping its students with best practices of journalism in order to enable the students to ensure total adherence to the code of ethics of practice.
On the regulation of social media, Dr Gamawa, also a seasoned lawyer, called on the media to be at the forefront of championing the course of sanitizing the activities of social media users by providing Nigerians with accurate information, especially on the forthcoming 2023 general elections.
On his part, the Head of the Mass Communication Department, Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, Bello Madaki Beli said the department is taking the advantage of technology by training students in modern journalism so as to be relevant in the journalism practice.