PARTICIPANTS A one-day media summit held Thursday at the auditorium of Gregory University Uturu, Abia State have urged South Easterners to go beyond investing in the petroleum industry and go towards deeply energizing the media industry in the geo-political zone as well as ensure that those established prosper.
The summit, whose theme was ‘Challenges of Media Ownership/Development And Good Governance; South East Experience’, was organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) South East Zone in conjunction with Gregory University Uturu (GUU) to raise the consciousness of the people at various levels in the zone to appreciate the efficacy and multi-dimensional benefits of media power.
Head of the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka Prof Kate Omenugha spoke on the theme, positing that to a large extent, media owners still dictate the tune.
National Vice President of NUJ for South East zone, Comrade Ambrose Nwachukwu who was the NUJ host, said the summit was held against the background of the challenges of media growth and development in the zone.
“Over the years, many media organizations, especially newspapers, were established. They could not survive, some even suffered death shortly after their birth with the attendant consequences on the socio-economic, cultural and political development of the zone,” he said.
He posited that a people without a vibrant media outreach for their effective socio-economic and political projections, live at the mercy of others blessed with media power.
Abia State NUJ Chairman, Hyacinth Okoli called on South East governors to activate their state-owned newspapers and strengthen the electronic media, saying: “The South East lacks its own voice in the media, even as the zone is blessed with billionaires.”
Governor Theodore Orji in his remarks said he supports the media but stressed that those establishing them should from the onset, decide their objectives, whether for business/profit, self-promotion or defence, or for attacking opponents.
Some media practitioners such as Mr Emma Agu , Dr Okey Ikechukwu and Eze Uwadiegwu Ogbonnaya formerly of The Champion, The Guardian and Concord newspapers respectively who individually commented on the topic, stated that South Easterners had actually invested in print media and attributed their seeming early demise to their founders’ lack of perseverance, lack of expected patronage/support from even the zone or not reaping immediate returns.
Emma Agu named some such newspapers established in the past by South Easterners and or Igbo as Post Express, Platform, Examiner Zest, TSM, Newglobe and Satellite.
He commended founders of Champion, The Sun, Business Hallmark and The Source for having persevered and canvassed patronage, encouragement and support for them.
On his part,Chairman of the summit and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Canada, Chief Ojo Maduekwe decried the recent attack on some media houses, especially ThisDay, saying: “A terrorist attack on the media is an attack on all of us because the media represents our collective psyche and conscience.”
GUU Chancellor, Dr Gregory Ibe said that the university did not hesitate to collaborate to host the summit, adding that it will continue to avail all and sundry the platform to discuss burning issues.