A Catholic priest of Umuahia in Abia State, Rev. Father. David Aguneri, has charged media professionals to be ambassadors of truth, while discharging their duties as purveyors of information.
Aguneri, who is the Administrator, Mater Dei Cathedral, gave the charge on Sunday in a sermon on the theme of this year’s World Communications Day celebration, “Come and see”.
According to him, it is imperative for media professionals to verify the information at their disposal before disseminating it to their audience.
He described the theme as an invitation to Christians and humanity to verify and authenticate the information they had in order to realize the truth and remain objective in their decisions.
Any person can be deceived by false and unverified information from the media, hence the need for the professionals to be circumspect and careful.
The cleric said that unverified information had the potency to promote the culture of death, mutual hatred, disunity and societal crisis.
Some people in authority had formed wrong policies based on wrong and unverified news items by the media.
He further admonished media professionals not to suppress the truth, no matter the circumstance.
There are those who refused to speak the truth. The media should discover the truth and say it, Aguneri said.
He frowned at the excesses of the social media practitioners and bloggers, who he described as “non-professional, practicing journalists,” accusing them of churning out fake and unverified news from the comfort of their bedrooms.
The priest, who described journalism as a vocation rather than profession, further encouraged the practitioners to cherish and preserve the position Providence had placed on them.
If you do not appreciate and discharge your job well, others will take it. He said that many had been offered mouth-watering bribe to suppress the truth but they declined the offer.
In a brief remark, the Chairman of the Catholic Media Practitioners of Nigeria, Abia chapter, Mr Chimdi Oluoha, who led members to the church service, appealed to the public to always avail the journalist with the truth.
Oluoha said, Journalists are not spirits. They depend on information from the citizens about happenings in the society. (NAN)