The Independent Newspaper Publishers Association (INPA) frowns at the Akwa Ibom State Government-sponsored smear campaign against the Assistant Editor of Premium Times Newspaper, Cletus Ukpong, because of his investigative series on the rot in public schools in the state.
It would have been most appropriate, and most rewarding even to the state government, for the Premium Times reporter to get praises for doing a thorough job and pointing the government to where development is greatly needed, and urgently too, in the state. The current smear campaign spearheaded by media managers of Akwa Ibom State government is a counter of what investigative journalists in 21st century states should get.
It is an indisputable fact that education needs a revival in Akwa Ibom State.
Independent Newspaper Publishers Association, INPA, has read through the investigative series in question. What we see in the series is that Mr Cletus Ukpong succeeded largely in drawing government attention to this fact and wish to commend him for such a great work of journalism.
Again, we consider the current smear campaign against the reporter as being counter-productive and demonstrative of low intellectuality and pettiness of most of His Excellency’s Aides on matters of public concern. The results of the smear campaign has not added value to how the public view the government; it rather had painted Governor Udom Emmanuel and his government in bad colours.
We condemn the attack on the reporter and hereby call on Governor Udom Emmanuel to caution members of his media team to immediately stop this needless attacks forthwith and reconsider their strategies in branding and markerting the government within acceptable framework of truth, decency and professionalism.
INPA is a non-profit organisation, with focus on press freedom and the growth of newspapers in Nigeria. It is registered with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).