* NGO out to rally media community for a new order backed by acute training
By Ignatius Chukwu
Pastor Paulinus Nsirim is known for his erudite media postulations with a deep background in field journalism. In the past 10 years, he has been mulling an idea in his mind, worried by the declining fortunes in media works and what the media should be doing. This thought process and musings may have been interrupted by his appointment as Commissioner of Information in the Rivers State government but it may have been God’s way of making the dream or the project a bigger reality.
Now, the hour seems to be here.
A new information order for Nigeria especially the Niger Delta is one where the media is acutely aware of its agenda-setting role and its rights to close-mark the leadership to toe global best practices I delivering dividends of democracy.
To actualize this, the former commissioner of information and communications in Rivers State, Pst Paulinus Nsirim, has launched an organization, De Gratia Centre for Media Rights and Education (DGC).
Addressing a press conference in Port Harcourt, the ex-commissioner and consummate newspaper journalist said journalists must occupy their right of place in Nigeria by putting forward a brand of practice that would be respected by the politicians and leaders the journalists want to hold accountable.
Pst Nsirim, said this can only come from serious training and retraining backed by an enforced sense of ethical compliance.
Unveiling the centre, Pst Nsirim, who was once the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) said De Gratia Centre for Media Rights and Education was a fulfillment of the vision that had been on the drawing board for 10 years. “My sojourn in media practice spanning 39 years has brought a reservoir of experience that I am humbled to share with media practitioners.
“My career path began as a cub reporter and by the special grace of God I rose to the pinnacle of my career as the Honourable Commissioner of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Nigeria.”
In his quest to birth De Gratia Centre for Media Rights and Education, he said he had to seek the support of two accomplished media practitioners ( Ignatius Chukwu and Vincent Ake), as well as his dear wife, Woyengikuro Nsirim, who would be serving with him as the board of trustees for this unique organization.
Explaining the core values of the organization, he said the vision of the DGC is to be a global brand in offering qualitative training in media practice; to serve as a fountain for ethical research and training.
“It is expected that the grooming of thorough-bred professionals will change the face of media practice across the country and beyond.
“Our Mission also, is to raise an army of media professionals who will set the bar of objectivity and fairness in media practice.
“We shall use our professional competence to promote high ethical standards in media practice in Nigeria and beyond.
To achieve our vision and mission, we shall employ the following strategies; workshops, seminars, master classes, mentorship classes, certificate courses, partnership for industry experience, exchange programmes, and researches.”
Nsirim said De Gratia Centre for Media Rights and Education is a non-profit with open membership but with strict processes. “Membership shall be open to such Journalists irrespective of sex, ethnic, political and religious creed.” He explained the processes and benefits.
He said DGC would seek partnership with corporate organizations, philanthropic bodies, media organizations and well-meaning individuals, to ensure that funding of its activities will not suffer a setback.
“We therefore call on all men of goodwill to embrace this noble vision, as accountable stewardship will be our watchword.”
Nsirim, who is the Executive Director of the Centre also informed that the DGC would hit the ground running with an inaugural workshop on July 26, 2023, at the De Goshen Centre in Ozuoba where an erudite professor of masscomm, Prof G B Okon of the Rivers State University would handle the theme; ‘Post 2023 Media Agenda Roadmap: Conceptualizations and Opinionizations”. This is expected to be with some focus on unveiling the media agenda for post 2023 Nigeria.
The expectation is that the keynote will open the way for participants to understand the seven Modules that would be handled by guest presenters.
Participants would be assisted o understand Nigeria’s communication environment analysis, the thrust being to shed light on the legal and regulatory (media) frameworks of Nigeria with a view to contextualizing the socio-political fault-lines for competitive edge journalism practice.
Nsirim said other experts would help participants understand the dynamics for agenda setting where Journalists must understand that agenda setting is not the exclusive preserve of the mass media; especially now that citizenship journalism is assuming a pervasive trend. “Media agenda requires tact and skills. This draws bearing from the contentious notion of who sets the agenda for public discourses.
“Our expectation is for the participants to understand their duty as agenda setters and be in a position to attempt the general assignment at the end of the workshop.”