On December 3, 2013, the Public Affairs Officer, Dehab Ghebreab stated that “it is the responsibility of the news media to get people the information they need to govern themselves, to help them find their voice, to attain their own freedom, and to make their own way. Without a free and vibrant press, a nation cannot find its voice and become a strong democracy.” Mrs. Ghebreab stated this at the opening of the 3-day Workshop for Press Officers in the Southern Nigeria with the theme: Enhancing Good Governance through Media and Grassroots Outreach: Strategically Navigating the Digital Landscape.
The workshop is the fourth in the series of programs planned for 2013 to educate, engage and empower journalists in Southern Nigeria. According to the Public Affairs Officer, Mrs. Ghebreab, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria vigorously promotes press freedom as a core component of our diplomatic activities and assistance programs. We do this by calling attention to efforts to restrict freedom of press, by supporting the rights of independent reporters and broadcasters, and through training for journalists, editors, media managers and press officers. We do this because we believe a free press is essential to democracy.
At the occasion, Mrs. Modupe Adekunle, the Head of Service, while declaring open the workshop, enjoined participants to pay optimum attention and participate actively in every issue that will be discussed in these three days.” According to her, the workshop will sharpen the skills and improve capability, capacity, productivity and performance of the Officers. This will effectively assist in information dissemination directed at mobilizing support for government programs, policies, projects and best journalism practices in the digital age.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy for Ogun State, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu emphasized the importance of capacity building to the performance of the press officers. He used himself as an example of the impact of training received from the U.S. Government that has enabled him get to his current position. He thanked the U.S. Government for partnering with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ogun State for making this program a reality.
The facilitator for the Workshop is U.S. Speaker, Derwin Johnson is an independent senior communication consultant with more than 30 years experience as a journalist, communication executive and educator.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ogun State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Ahaji Abdulfatai Opebiki and the Chairperson of Ogun State NUJ, Mrs. Oluseun Boye welcomed all participants to the State by highlighting areas they could visit while in the state.
About forty participants drawn from Edo, Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, and Rivers States are attending the workshop.