*Need to partner with security agencies closely arises
Bi-annual retreat of media men and women who are covering the Presidential Villa in Abuja under the auspices of State House Press Corps (SHPC) brought up the unresolved issue of what constitutes national interest on Saturday during a retreat in Lagos.
The issue, which was raised by the Vice chairman of the SHPC, Attach Ikharo, after the main lecture by the National Security Adviser, retired General Babagana Monguno, through his senior aide, Ambassador Yusuf Mamman, still remained unresolved as the two parties held on to their views.
General Monguno had spoken on the topic: News Reporting: Balancing National Security versus public interest, where he stressed the need for media men and women to always put national interest at heart when writing news items.
This was even as the representative of the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, who also quarrelled some state House reporters who recently misinterpreted a statement he issued on the cancelled visit of an African President to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NSA acknowledged the difficulties which journalists had to go through in the process of news gathering and writing, which he said are similar to the security agents’ roles of providing security for the country and still maintaining the tenets of democracy without compromising any of the two.
He said that it is in view of the peculiar nature of the work of the security people and the journalists that the two need to work hand in hand to avoid conflicts.
However, after the main lectures had spoken, Attah Ikharo asked the speakers to define the true national interest vis-a-vis personal interest of the leaders and their handlers to which the speakers found no answer.
Ikharo cited many instances where the leaders attacked journalists for publishing news items that were factual simply because it offended the personal interest of the leaders.
“One of such instances was the one in which Ubale Musa of the Radio Germany (Hausa Service) was thrown out of the Aso Villa because he asked a question which the President then did not like.”
One of those who also delivered lectures at one-day retreat is the Chief Executive Officer of Phase3 Telecome, Mr. Stanley Jegede. His lecture was titled: Harnessing the Power of Broadband Technology for effective new media practice.”