Freedom of the Press is not synonymous to flinging discretion to the wind!
If you follow this link (“http://www.saharareporters.com/2013/05/05/press-freedom-and-challenge-online-media-nigeria-mark-okafor” ) you will find a really saddening list of reporters/ news men who lost their lives in the battle for “Free Press” and who unlike Soyinka were not able to flee in time for their lives in times of unrest and civil tension. This however, gives no moral justification for press men to lose their morals when representing information. SPJ (Society for Professional Journalists (@www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp) really makes the press out as the harbinger of Justice and Democracy and one of the striking duties of the press being honest, fair and courageous gathering, reporting and interpretation of information is also entrenched in a mandate to be compassionate towards those who may be adversely affected by news coverage and to show “good taste”.
What’s did I see?
I personally have no issue with Femi Fani Kayode (FFk) and his claim that Sawyer was hired by a cult to bring Ebola into Nigeria, Neither do I have issues with Times Premium reporters who claim that threats of Suicide Bombers in Catholic Nun Regalia are imminent.
But when assumedly “grown up” and “Professional” news reporters start to tag the President of Nigeria a Goat, I think we need to be concerned. I said “we” yes, you, me, the government, National Union of Journalists and whatever Parastatal is out there to regulate press activities.
We are not Apes, just black
My People have a saying “Ife eran jije o ni ki a pe maalu ni booda” in other words, you don’t pay Obeisance to Cow for the love of beef. The fact that the nation needs unbiased, critical voices on matters arising in the nation does not in any way infer that the press men can just blurt out any form of S*it language that comes to their minds. I call that mind vomit and in no way does it achieve any constructive result for the nation.
Please don’t click this link: ” http://blogs.premiumtimesng.com/2014/08/19/nigerians-and-the-five-basic-laws-of-human-stupidity-by-bamidele-ademola-olateju/
This writer seems to be a well outspoken and critical writer, but the fact that you could move a crowd of teens on naijapals.com does not translate to an ability to remain professional and ethical when presenting issues to the Nigerian Public. Categorizing the Head of State of a whole nation as “Stupid” does not in any way bring home your point but borders on slander and for such people to be backed by corporations and publishing houses makes it corporate slander. Which if properly researched cannot be severed from some hidden rival sponsorship that would do or say anything to paint a bad image.
What the press should
Unethical press is a canker eating away the fabric of the nation. The everyday man has the propensity and habit of pulling out words with no regards for sensibility, propriety or “sensibility”, because he may have no reason to check his words again. On the other hand the press:
– Is the Nation’s tabloid, the front page and gate keeper. The universal image of a nation is stablished on the output of the press. If we want to be honest and critical, no one says we should not be but manner of approach is a skill honed in courts of royalty and we only prove ourselves barbaric when we cannot tame our speech to be clean blades and employ jagged savage hacksaw rusted by bile and sentimental remarks.
-Is the thermometer for tolerance: When fighting housewives lose their grip on the ability to tolerate one another, the precedence to full blown physical battles is verbal battering. Nigerians should caution press men who are bent on leading us on to the point of civil unrest and eventually break-up.
-Is the platform for ruling/educating the masses: Now facebook and other social media have turned to platform for stone-throwing amongst people of various ethnic and religious persuasions. The public is taking after the press, the press is like the Orator in the amphi-theatre of ancient Rome, his fervor for blood appeals to mad rage in the mob of Rome and his plea for mercy appeals to their merry spirit.
It is out there, I know it. We know it is out there, the looming darkness which has been predicted for Nigeria. The walls of Rome have been staked, greased and fueled for the fire, but here I am, here we are asking that Rome “live and let live”. Tell these press men to go back to their books of ethics and language, especially when it comes to national cum international matters. Seek to educate and not instigate!