By Esther Adeniyi
Information is a strong determinant of the progress of a society. In every society, the actions and inactions of the people are mostly influenced by the information available, whether right or wrong.
Like other professions, journalism is guided by ethics and code of conduct for better practices.
Journalists as purveyors of information are therefore expected to practice within the ethical standards of the profession.
Sadly, times have changed and not many journalists have been able to overcome the challenge of the economic meltdown, and societal ills, in the discharge of their duties.
In the face of these odds, journalists find it difficult, to be honest, accurate, and fair in their reporting, which they are expected to be.
To address this problem, George Sarwah Stewart, Liberian journalist and Development Communicator has charged Christian Journalists to hold onto their faith and be good examples in the profession.
George said this while speaking in a fellowship hosted by Journalists for Christ (JFC), a non-governmental organization for Christian Journalists and Allied Professionals.
The JFC September edition of the monthly fellowship, themed “Journalists as Salt and Light of the world” was held virtually on the 17th of July 2022. The fellowship had in attendance Christian Journalists in Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya and United States.
Drawing from a Bible citation, Mathew 5:13-16, George urged Christian Journalists to be the light of the media by reporting truthfully and fairly in order to expose the rights and wrongs of society so that God’s creation will be better.
According to George, “Journalism is a truth-telling profession intended to expose the ills and good of society.
“When you want to talk about fairness, honesty, integrity, reliability, preserver of societal values, disinfectants of societal wrath, you have to hold on to Journalism.
George encouraged Christian journalists to fit into Christ’s description of believers as the salt and light of the world, by telling the truth and bringing hidden things to light for societal good.
“We live in a world that seems to be gloomy and fast turning dark.
“A world that is getting tasteless, assertiveness is going down due to corruption, greed, bad governance, proof of power, and wickedness.
“God expects people of light and saltiness to not relent but let their light shine to brighten a dark world, “ he said.
Participants at the fellowship also shared insights on Journalism as a truth-telling profession and Christians as Salt and Light of the world.
Dr. Taye Obateru, Senior Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Nigeria
“Journalists should be conscious of the nation in doing their job
“As Christian Journalists, we are ambassadors of Christ and examples in the profession.
“If we are going to be the salt of the world as we are supposed to be, we need to allow the Christ-like nature to influence our job. That way, journalists will be able to contribute more to the betterment of the society.”
Dayo Emmanuel, Secretary, JFC
“When we say we are Christians, we should be Christians indeed and it must reflect in everything we do including our jobs and media practices.”
Tunde Abatan, Managing Editor, Newdawn Online
“Christianity enjoins us to speak the truth, not only speak the truth but also publish the truth, and run away from all manner of falsehood because falsehood can mislead the society. When we mislead society we are not living as true Christians.
“At this moment in the history of our country, we are moving towards the election. Let us make sure we speak the truth to power and set the agenda as a true Christian so that people can make the right decisions in electing the next leaders”
Seye Joseph, Editor, EnterpriseCEO
“I do not think we are going to become better Christians if we don’t have values that help other people lead a better life in a way that will improve the country. Most of these values are in our ethics as journalists.”
Ajewole Joshua, Journalist
“As Christian Journalists, we should not compromise our faith and what we stand for in the Christian body for gains.”
Lekan Otufodunrin, President, JFC also advised journalists to cooperate with one another in order to overcome the challenges faced by Christians in Journalism practice.
“Although there are challenges in the profession, Journalists have to team up, stick together as Christians, not only to pray, but to share best practices and opportunities, and provide mentorship for young ones.
“God is faithful, and he rewards what we do,” he said.