Iredia, Ishiekwene, Uranta, Others Highlight Media Contributions to COVID-19 Management

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Call for more collaboration between scientists and journalists

The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), has hosted journalists to an interactive platform to mark the second day of its media week. The event which took place on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, via Zoom, had in attendance distinguished media personalities including Prof. Tonnie Iredia, former Director General of the Nigeria Television Authority and other seasoned journalists.

During his remarks, Prof. Iredia who said he had recently concluded a research on the collaborative roles of scientists and the media, affirmed that such roles help to solve the problems in society, adding that while scientists proffer solutions, it is the role of the media to publicise such solutions to enlighten and educate the public. He stressed the need for public enlightenment in anything scientists are involved in. He further observed that getting the media involved in the entire COVID-19 saga has helped to pull down contradictions, controversies and fake news.

L-R Prof. Tonnie Iredia, former director general of the Nigeria Television Authority; Editor-in-Chief of Leadership, Azu Ishiekwene and Kingsley Uranta of Channels Television

Speaking, the Editor-in-Chief of Leadership, Azu Ishiekwene, extoled the roles the media has been playing in shaping public perception and attitudes in the COVID-19 era. He made reference to a research carried out at the University of Griffith, Australia, which discovered that media reports about the pandemic had direct impact of the behavioral tendencies of the populace. He added that the research findings showed that 80 percent of Australians had a favourable attitude towards the pandemic due to positive media coverage and that the adoption of the AstraZeneca vaccine was also influenced by the media.

Kingsley Uranta of Channels Television said the novelty toga that came with the virus was demystified with enough information from the media, adding that, the decision of many media houses to commence different enlightenment programmes helped to educate the public about the hitherto unknown virus. He also praised journalists for being able to settle all the contradictions and controversies that arose from the pandemic, especially by making clarifications in the face of fake news.

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Dotun Oladipo, publisher of Eagle Online and chairman of Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, made a fundamental observation concerning the economic impact of COVID-19 on media entrepreneurs and how they still forged ahead to carry out their professional duties in spite of the strangulating challenges they faced. He cited dwindling revenues, reduction of staff strength and government’s insensitive posture as some of the hard points of their COVID experience. How they managed to survive remains a case study in perseverance and passion for the job.

While reiterating the dodged nature of journalists in the face of all the professional hazards they encounter in the course of their duties, Danlami Nmodu, mni, Publisher of the Newsdiaryonline, added that journalists are endangered species that have defied all the odds to perform their duties. He called on government to accord the media the needed access to information to enable it perform creditably well in the task of nation-building and development.

During his contribution as one of the moderators at the event, one-time president of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM), and also a former president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Dr. U.N.O Uwaga, expressed profound satisfaction with the deliberations at the event while corroborating the observations of other key speakers on the significant and almost indispensable role the media is playing in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic. He amplified the fact that, government would stand to gain a lot when it partnered with the media in mitigating the effects of health emergencies such as COVID-19.

Speaking, NAPharm President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi remarked that the collaborative role of the media and scientists in any society cannot be overemphasized. He also praised journalists for their brilliant contributions to the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria and beyond, adding that they are great agents of change and development.

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In his vote of thanks, on behalf of NAPharm, Sir (Pharm.) Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher of Pharmanews, Thanked the media for their support. He also had kind words for all the invited guests and particularly eulogized the contributions of Professor Tonnie Iredia to media practice in Nigeria.

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