Media Hypocrisy, the Authentication of Silent Murder in Nigeria - Onyeji Nnaji
Media houses are generally the home-base and store houses for criticism. Many of the time it is constructive, while in the most critical of the times it is antsgonistia or destructive. The latter has led to the killing of many journalists by some murderous political leaders and some immoral tycoons parading themselves in cities with ill-gotten wealth.
Aside that, the press had been actively involved in directing the society towards the necessary changes required of their societies at several times. Press helped in the change of government, determining the supposed best option among leadership candidates at different places and different times. The manner with which any of these is skilfully carried out lies deeply on the ability of the media to manipulate words and configure them to achieve a set up goal. Usually, these goals have been in the interest of the entire society. That is the feature which pricked Ngugi Wa Thiongo to assert that "A writer is the sensitive needle of his society."
The Nigerian media situation shows complete different characteristics of the press. Rather than become the purveyors of truth and the representation of the voiceless, Nigerian journalists have chosen the parts of nepotism and favouritism, all in the interest of their sensuous feudal Lords. We found this nepotic diversion in the Nigerian situation after the media defeat of President Goodluck Jonathan. Since 2015, the Nigerian media have been one sided and continuously yielding to distractions. At any time issues of national concern is on the drawing board, the media are distractedly focused on trivial matters.
During #EndSars, for instance; the duties of the media should have been viewed in two directions. There should have been constant reports of the protesters' condition at the protest ground. The coverage of this area should be strong and steady to let people outside know the situation of things arround the protesters. On the other hand, attention should be given to the mixed reactions of people in the society and the government. In such a situation, the media is bent on assisting the protesters to achieve the proposed changes that would better the society. But the media failed the very time they turned arround to scrutinize the mode of feeding of the protesters and the sources of their food. The media again failed to ignore the activities of some government sponsored mobs fighting security operatives. So, as immediate as the media failed, the government found reasons to overturn the protest against the protesters.
All the same; the current exacerbating insecurity situation in the country has adversely exposed media hypocrisy among Nigerian news houses. The best way to fight insecurity using the media is by exposing the criminal activities of the perpetrators and unveiling their religious and economic sponsors. Our journalists could not do this, all they achieved was a continuous rebranding of the activities and name of the perpetrators in order to give government immeasurable abating excuses. Having been bought over by the powers that be either by influence or by intimidation, the media resorted to frivolities and distraction coverage.
When the government saw that the media have turned the way of average Nigerians, pursuing noise and stage-managed concerts, they got prepared to film distractions anytime serious issues are going on underground. So, as the media pursue noise, the society is being dragged away from what should concern them. Nigerians, by this, take the position of the legendary Afro icon, Fela "Suffering and smiling".
If not media hypocrisy, who could imagine that the prolonged Boko Haram killing and displacing of indigenous in the north coupled with banditry and herders menace could be defocused on account of the sit-at-home announcement by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Because the media were blinded to the reality spelt around them, all eyes faced towards BIAFRA land, thereby giving bandits the freehand to penetrate Kebbi state unchecked. Were the media active and foresighted, the intention to divert soldiers fighting Boko Haram to Biafra land would have been criticized heavily against.
Today, the information ravaging the whole country is the inconsequential ban of Twitter. Just as had been stated earlier, as soon as the stage was set, the filming of twitter-ban distraction resumned. And while the country follow the noise, over 80 inhabitants of Kebbi State were killed in one day. As though that was not enough, the successive killing claimed about 50 people in Igangan community in Oyo State. A prime mind would ask, what is the media place in all these? It is simple; to attack injustices at all levels. Yes, one may say, "The media reported these killings." Where are the videos or, at least, the pictures of these people murdered in their own homes. We are in the era when images speak better that letters.
Again, you do not scratch the surface of a pleasant treasure and abandon it to extract itself. You rather work on/for it steadily with commitment. Get the president to condemn the killing via a press conference where people may ask him questions about their own safety. The reason why the representative of other countries in Nigeria are not saying anything is because they did not see any seriousness in the media. Should the media be serious and committed to the fight against injustices and unsafe condition of the citizens, the respective countries having their embassies in Nigeria will raise concern. They will be concerned because, they would want sure security around their ambassadors. Reactions of Nigerians on social media showed a clear indication of helplessness and hopelessness resulting from a failed government. Your feelings towards the reactions of Nigerians on social media will tell you that the media have not done much.
I know how hot OANN, Fox News, Newsmax and other media outlets went to get president Biden to his feet to hold the first press conference. Nigerian media can do so. Think about that. I shall leave us with the words of George Patmore below:
Your country needs you for the rebuilding of your shattered homeland. Your homeland ruined by exploitation. The tyrants of foreign nations ...