The National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), has tasked journalists covering the National Assembly to dwell more on good governance – driven legislations and interventions being made by it and not sensationalism.
Director – General of the Institute, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, gave the charge on Tuesday in Abuja at the commencement of 2 – day capacity building workshop organised for journalists covering the Senate and the House of Representatives in collaboration with KONRAD ADENAUER STIFTUNG (KAS) .
According to him, public perception of the National Assembly is not reflective of the critical roles it has been playing in stabilising the polity, deepening democracy and promoting good governance in Nigeria within the last 23 years through required legislative interventions.
“In the case of the National Assembly, poor coverage over the years has contributed to the negative perception of the parliament by citizens.
“Such misperceptions are often echoed by the press in a way that tends to set the people against their elected representatives.
“Most reporters limit themselves to the superficial elements and ‘drama’ that often characterise deliberative assemblies worldwide and not the core roles, functions and workings of the legislature “, he said.
He added that under reportage of efforts and contributions made over the years by the National Assembly in deepening democratic governance and stabilising the polity by the media , contributed to the perception problem.
“Some of the substantive efforts and interventions of the National Assembly in critical areas such as the promotion of national security has been under reported by the press .
“It is on record that the 9th Assembly has done more than any other Assembly to fund security agencies, amend their statutory and legal frameworks to promote synergy and undertake effective oversight of the security sector.
“Journalists are required to act as watchdogs for our democracy. At a time of significant polarisation, insecurity and fear, you have a duty to report responsibly rather than further aggravate the situation.
“This will represent a significant paradigm shift that moves the focus of your reporting from mere sensational and divisive storytelling to one that emphasises collaborative problem-solving and empowers citizens to make the right decision,” he stressed.