Prelate Isaiah Issong, a frontline cleric and founder, Believers Assembly of Nigeria, BAN, has urged journalists in Akwa Ibom state to carry out their role of informing the public with a sense of decorum, responsibility and professionalism, devoid of sensationalism.
Prelate Issong said journalism is a noble profession and its practitioners should avoid using their medium to cast aspersions on people, institutions and communities through sensational reports.
This was contained in a statement in reaction to a media report published on Thursday 27th April in a state-based newspaper, which the clergyman was quoted out of context during the inauguration of Akwa Ibom State drug control committee at Ibom hall on Monday 17th April in Uyo.
Prelate Issong, who is the President, Fathers of Faith in Good Governance, said at the event, he shared his observations and experiences on what was a booming drug trafficking and trade in Uyo and South-Eastern part of Nigeria in the early 60s, but was misrepresented by the paper.
He said as communication experts, journalists should understand the context within which a particular communication experience took place before reporting same to the public.
“The experiences His Eminence shared at that event did not imply that he was dealing on drugs. He said that while growing up, he used to see, identify and know members of cartels that used to trade on drugs like Indian hemp and other contraband substances.
“As young man growing up in an environment where such trade was prevalent, it was only normal for the Prelate, a young man then, to have seen or known those who were trading on common substances like Cannabis Sativa. That was the context of his message at that event.
“That was why he went further to state that members of those cartels had died due to the impact of the substance, others were arrested and prosecuted by the government and others have left the trade and taken on decent means of livelihoods. All of these experiences shared by the Prelate were intended to buttress the negative impacts of involvement in drugs, which was thesis of that event, with the aim to discourage young persons who may have contemplated drug use and trade.”
The statement which was issued by Prelate Issong’s media office said the experiences shared by the renowned Father in Faith and researcher did not imply that he led a totally abusive life as a teenager, before he gave his life to Christ.
“Prelate Issong preaches against substance abuse and has on different occasions vehemently cautioned youths to avoid keeping company with people who abuse substances or trade in contrabands and substances which have the potency to alter the normal state of their body when taken. He has been consistent in charging parents not to relent in their responsibility of training their children in the way of the Lord. “, the statement adds.