While the Freedom Of Information law parades positive implications in all spheres of the countries development, it has been observed that the impacts of the law is yet to be fully felt at the states and local government levels in Nigeria
The Special Assistant to the Akwa Ibom State Governor on Media, Mr. Essien Ndueso in a paper at the 2016 celebration by the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Ekpene Chapter of the Association of Mass Communication Students (AMASCOS), lamented that as some public officials still deny journalists access to official information with cheap excuses despite the existence of the law.
Mr Ndueso who spoke on the theme, “Freedom of Information Law: Matters Arising,” told students that the law has granted journalist and everyone in general access to public information, adding that even as students and would-be practitioners, they should be bold enough to demand public information and use same for public good.
He lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for maintaining a transparent administration, and providing regular interface with the people which has enabled the people to be carried along in his programmes and projects in the state.
He lamented that despite being empowered by the law, some journalists in the State fail to take the pains and cross check details of government transactions before bringing same to the public domain.
The Governor’s media aide accordingly warned that despite the presence of the Freedom of Information law, professionals should always endeavour to be guided by the ethical codes of their profession, adding that it was a responsibility on the path of the journalists to maintain professional conduct at all times so as to escape litigation for abuses.
Earlier, the head, Department of Mass Communication, Evangelist Evans Eshiett commended the students for putting up such a novel event restated the commitment of the department to provide the students with world class training needed to groom them for the challenges of journalism practice.
A guest lecturer at the event, Mr Tony Saviour an ace broadcaster, who spoke on the topic “Journalism: inside Out,” encouraged the students to be determined and look past the challenges of the profession as such is the attitude needed to make a good career.
Another guest at the event, Mr Aniekeme Finbarr who is a Special Assistant to the Governor on Media also commended the students for organizing such an event stating that the bedrock of journalism practice is a combination of classwork and field experience.
Evangelist Evans also encouraged students to be proactive and imbibe the Dakkada spirit of Governor Udom Emmanuel in order to ignite the greatness within them.
Speaking earlier in a welcome speech, the students’ president, Miss Mfonobong Ephraim challenged fellow students to look beyond their limitations and strive for excellence, maintaining that the seminar was organised as an avenue for the students to tap from the wealth experiences of the professionals.
The occasion was chaired by the Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor Mr Ekikere Umoh represented by a deputy registrar in the Polytechnic Mr Anietie Etteyit.