The Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) tuesday frowned at the proliferation of beat associations among specialised journalists, calling for the disbandment of such bodies.
The NPO, which comprises the Newspaper Proprietors' Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), believes that beat associations "constitute a drawback on the laudable objective of media houses deploying reporters to such outlets, the essence of which is to enhance efficient and independent gathering of news."
In a statement signed by NPAN's Executive Secretary, Feyi Smith, on behalf of NPO, the press organisation said: "The essence of journalists in those beats is to strengthen the operations of the media in its quest to deepen journalism and raise an army of a well informed and enlightened citizenry and actualise its constitutional responsibility of holding the government accountable to the people at all times, through well informed news and commentaries.
"No where in their mandate, are they expected to form any association outside their recognised professional body, the NUJ."
The statement also added: "The proliferation of beat associations is not only corrosive of the esteemed journalism profession but also capable of lowering ethical and moral standards as well as the quality of reportage, if unchecked. They are now to cease and desist from engaging journalists in such untoward conduct."