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Nigeria : Victoria Okeno Calls on Women Media Managers to Keep the Flag Flying

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As the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day, Victoria Okeno, editor of the Nasarawa Eye, a weekly Newspaper published in Nasarawa State, North Central Nigeria regrets that the country still has few women as managers in the media.

In an interview with The Women’s Torch on World Press Freedom Day, Victoria Okeno called on the few women who are managers in the media to be good ambassadors and urged them to keep the flag flyinghigher. “Their output will have a bearing on how other women will be taken or given more opportunity.” She added.

The newspaper editor advised women journalists to improve themselves academically by reading constantly,and to continue educating themselves, saying that they must be prepared for challenges, not to have an inferiority complex, and remain confident in order to manage their time, between office and home demands.

Comparing current freedom of the press trends in Nigeria to that of the military era, Victoria Okenu said “we still have a long way to go”adding that Nigeria is yet to transform fully from a military to democratic Government trends.

According to her, though Nigeria has a Freedom of Information Act, “public office holders still have a military mentality. They harass Journalists…it becomes a case of cat and mouse games.”

Citing the recent arrests in Uyo, AkwaIbom State, of Nsibiet John, the publisher and the editor-in-chief of The Ink, for a publication alleging that the State deputy governor, Moses Ekpor had pocketed 250 million naira (US$695,000) as a security vote the editor of The Nasarawa Eye, said journalists rights are not respected.

Speaking on the “Brown Envelope” syndrome, where journalists are given money to influence their story, she commended Nigerian media organizations who advertise public warnings not to give their staff “brown envelope”.  Adding that the way journalists behave is the reflection of what the society is,she called on Nigerians to help support the media regulatory bodies stamp out corruption in the media.

She described social media, referred to as new media as a problem in Nigeria as people can anonymously post anything on their website, twitter, facebook etc, with no legal consequences.  She called for the enactment of a law penalizing “fake news”.

She also called on media organizations ho recruit non-journalists to regularly organize in-house training especially on house rules.

Veronica Ogbole / Nigeria