Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Surajudeen Ajibola Basiru, on Monday, admonished political office holders not to turn their media aides into “attack dogs” in view of their critical role of “mitigating tension in the society.”
Basiru made the call while declaring open a two-day capacity building workshop for media aides to Principal Officers and Information Personnel of the National Assembly, in Abuja.
According to him, “the role of Media Aides is rooted in journalism and a fact that cannot be denied is that the country needs viable and well-informed media personnel as intermediaries between the government and the governed.”
He also reiterated that media aides are, by the very nature of their job schedule, the repository of the “secrets” of their principals and that their job schedule cuts across policy making and projection of their principals’ images.
“Their roles are more sensitive than those of other aides because they are the mirror through which their principals are assessed by the public,” he said.
He enjoined participants at the workshop to be very wary of “journalists” performing their duties and always allow caution to be their watchword when they are fielding questions from journalists, particularly on issues that may likely involve their principals.
He however warned the political class not to reduce their media aides to tools to further their political interests.
He noted that “as politicians, we do not really acquaint ourselves with the important nature of the job description of media aides. Hence, we fail to maximise the benefits derivable from them.
“It is high time we realise that media aides have so much to offer if we allow them to function strictly within the context of their engagement and that the political class should not turn media aides to attack dogs that are let loose on others which may not be in sync with their point of view or even of different political inclinations.
“Undoubtedly, media aides are stabilising factors in the polity, they have the onerous task of mitigating tension in the society through their releases on behalf of their principals.
“The political class must accept the fact that media aides have so much contribute in the area of mitigation of societal tensions in all ramifications if allowed and given the necessary support.
“On this note, I must appreciate our media aides for being the catalyst for the relative peace, integration and cooperation being currently witnessed by the Ninth Assembly and the Executive.
“This is because of the professionalism and astuteness of purpose of the media aides here seated. I implore you to please not rest on your oars.
“I commend the convener of this workshop. This workshop is very apposite currently when the nation is facing challenges largely due to misinformation.
“I also implore the participants to key in on the benefits of this workshop as it would increase their knowledge, enhance quality of job and broaden your exposure to new areas and best practices in journalism.”