The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata SAN, has said that the judicial arm of government relies on journalists for accurate reportage of the justice sector and to inform the public about developments in the sector.
Apata explained this in his welcome address on Tuesday, at a workshop with judiciary correspondents organized by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
“The coverage of the judiciary remains an essential component of the watchdog function of the media.
“This is in conformity with Section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which empowers the media to keep the government accountable,” Apata said.
He also stated that poor reportage of the judiciary by media houses keeps the populace in ignorance as per the giant strides of judiciary sector, in improving the society.
“The growing interest by the general public in what the judiciary sector does, particularly in criminal cases, election litigations, fight against corruption, among others, underscores the importance of the media in creating the much-needed awareness that help in shaping public opinion and perception in that direction,” he stressed.
Apata added that ” in as much as the media may expose wrong doings in many systems, effective coverage of the justice sector also help prevent injustices by shining spotlight on the actions of judges, lawyers and other participants in the justice system.”
As such, the Solicitor General, called on media organizations to properly equip their reporters with the nitty-gritty of the field as well as frown on ” inaccurate presentation of facts.”
” Despite the importance of the coverage, complain abounds that news organizations send journalists out to do stories with little training about the complexities of the justice system and intricacies of the complex operations in a society with multiple backgrounds and perception,” he added.