The Chairman of the Nigerian Press Council, Alhaji Alade Odunewu, has advocated the upgrading of the Mass Communication Department of the University of Lagos to a faculty or a school of communication.
He said the transformation would mould the students of the department to become better communicators.
Speaking on Thursday at the public presentation of a book, titled, Mass Media and Society – A Multi-perspective Approach, edited by the Head of Department, Mass Comm, Unilag, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, Odunewu said the vision of the founding fathers of the department about 42 years ago was to create a department where world class professionals would be turned out.
He said the vision had become a reality as the department paraded the cream of professionals in the mass media in Nigeria and Africa in general.
According to him, “The importance and achievements of the department within the Nigerian society is of such magnitude that quite a large percentage of students aspiring for academic advancement in mass communication education in Nigeria today struggle to be admitted to the Mass Communication Department of the University of Lagos – a fact that can only be credited to the known quality of graduates from the department.
“Beyond producing first-rate professionals in print and broadcast journalism, advertising and public relations, the department produced the first African Pulitzer Prize winner in Journalism in the person of Dele Olojede. Little wonder that the UNESCO, an international organisation of repute appointed, identified and tagged the department as “Centre of Excellence” for the training of mass communication in Africa.”
In his address, Akinfeleye admonished journalists to be of untainted integrity in the conduct of their duty.
He said the immediate battle for the Nigerian journalists should not be with politicians or public officials or the government, but to a large extent, with themselves through the strict adherence to their code of ethics.
He said journalists should be more focused on their improvement of journalistic integrity, which appears to have eluded some of them in their practices in recent times.
According to him, “It is my candid opinion that the Nigerian journalists will be living in the fool’s paradise if they march on in the new millennium, still believing that they can continue to enjoy public support for their constitutional obligation of monitoring and making government accountable to the people.”