Former Singapore minister of state Bernard Chen in his analysis on the function of the media in any society opined that, “the media may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about. It is from this that the society looks different to different people, depending not only on their personal interest, but also on the map that is drawn for them by the writers, editors and publishers of the paper they read”.
Chen’s view clarified that the media through its publications determines public perception on issues in the society and determines how people react to the issues.
Efforts by the Rivers State government to showcasing a positive image of the state was among the issues discussed when the #OurStateOurResponsibility team led by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim visited the management and staff of The Vortex Newspaper in Port Harcourt to endorse the campaign for responsible citizenship.
Speaking, Nsirim congratulated the management of The Vortex for maintaining professional competence in its operations at a time newspapering is becoming very challenging in the face of the onslaught by partisan politics and the new media.
Nsirim pointed out that the #OurStateOurResponsibility initiative was a sincere desire to change the false narrative of Rivers state by some section of the media, adding that the media and media practitioners must partner with the state government to protect the collective interest of the state and positively project Rivers State on the National and Global stage.
He said, “There is a calculated attempt to project a negative image of Rivers State in the media and when we join those who perpetrate this, it affects our families and businesses. Our responsibility must be to protect the collective interest of the state”.
The Permanent Secretary charged The Vortex and media professionals to remain objective and ensure that they verify all information before presenting them to the public, adding that, all media programs should be geared towards reflecting public interest and the good of the state.
Nsirim said, “The time has come for the media to lay emphasis on development journalism. In your news, features, editorial and programs, we’ll want to see more emphasis on Our State Our Responsibility campaign. The words, thoughts and actions of our people must reflect the interest of the state”.
He congratulated The Vortex for being the first newspaper to identify with the campaign, and assured of the ministry’s support.
Speaking, publisher of The Vortex Newspaper, Dr. Alpheaus Paul-Worika noted that The Vortex is a patriotic and vibrant newspaper committed to making Rivers State better for all through the reportage of balanced, accurate and unbiased news.
He pointed out that the principle of democracy and civic responsibility enjoy relevance because of a vibrant newspaper culture adding that, The Vortex is determined to raise the bar in newspaper publishing and become the most authoritative newspaper in Rivers State and the South-South.
Paul-Worika said, “We all owe a responsibility to our state to make it better for ourselves and posterity. And as citizens and journalists, it is part of our responsibility to be patriotic. Our mandate in The Vortex is to do things differently in such a way that we stand out as the best newspaper in Rivers state and the South-South”.
He assured of the readiness of The Vortex to partner with the Ministry of Information and Communication it its campaign to protect the interest of Rivers State, and declared; “We are available to support every noble and worthy course. You can count on The Vortex for honesty and brutal frankness. We’ll keep showing we’re responsible in the discharge of our duty without fear or compromise’.
In his remark, Director of Publication, Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communication, Sir. Valentine Ugboma congratulated The Vortex for setting the pace in objective reportage of news and information in Rivers State.
Ugboma described The Vortex as a force to be reckoned with in newspaper publishing in Rivers state, adding that in a short time, The Vortex will be a household name in the state.
He charged the management of The Vortex to remain committed to changing the narrative of Rivers State, assuring of the ministry’s preparedness to partner with the press in ensuring that the collective interest of the state is protected.
The delegation included, Mr. Kenneth Okujagu, Director, ICT. Mr. Fiberesima Oruwari, Director, PRS. Mr. Obu Obele Isaiah, Director of Public Enlightenment and Sir. Valentine Ugboma, Director of Publications.