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[UPDATE] ADVERTISING PRACTITIONERS LASH BACK AT COMMUNICATION MINISTER WHO SAID THEY ARE PLAYING PARTISAN POLITICS.

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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Communication practitioners have recently differed with Labaran
Maku, minister of information, on his statemen few days ago
that the Nigerian media was playing partisan in its
journalism roles.
The minister had said at an international seminar on
political advertising, perception building and voter
education organised by Association of Advertising
Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) in Abuja recently, that the
Nigerian media now operated partisan journalism, which
he believed was capable of causing practitioners to lose
the conscience of the people.
According to the minister, the current partisan
journalism experienced in the industry is informed by
the media ownership structure, which he said, has
become an obstacle to factual journalism.
Reacting to the statement, Ikechuckwu Ameachi,
managing director/editor-in-chief, The Niche newspaper,
categorically said the minister was not correct in his
assertion. “What people fail to understand is that
whenever a story is against someone, he raises issue.
Even in advanced societies, newspapers can endorse a
particular presidential candidate and write an editorial
to endorse a candidate based on what the paper
believes.
According to him, a newspaper must have a leaning. “If
I believe that President Goodluck Jonathan is doing well,
why won’t I support him? Journalists are part of the
society, they did not jump down from the moon, and if
they believe some one is doing well, they support him.”
Also reacting, the publisher of Marketing Edge Magazine,
John Ajayi, said the truth of the matter was that the
Nigerian media had over the years been very objective in
reporting and they remain relevant to the community
and the people, because the media had aligned with
their aspirations.
He said: “In the days of the military, the Nigerian media
were partisan on the side of the people, and what the
Nigerian people wanted was for the military to go. Also,
the Nigerian media were partisan when they fought to
get rid of the colonialists. The Nigerian media also
fought to restore democracy when the military truncated
it.”
In his reaction, John Ehiguese, CEO of MediaCraft, a PR
agency based in Lagos, said “newspaper is a business
and all over the world businesses have certain interests
and the business must also protect those interests.
To him, there are underline business interest in
business, and the media is not exclusive. Ehiguese said
there could be instances were some media houses were
not doing well, but making such general sweeping
statement that the Nigerian media was partisan was
not right.
Deji Elumoye, chairman, Lagos State chapter of Nigerian
Union of Journalists, said the Nigerian media had been
fair in their reporting, and fair to all parties.
Jide Ologun, former chairman of Lagos chapter of
Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, who also
disagreed with the minister, said the action of the
people was based on the action in the Mirror.
“If you accuse them of being partisan, the question is
why are they partisan. Everybody is saying let us have
dividend of democracy. There is verbal and non-verbal
communication. If you invite a musician to play for you
and you don’t give the musician food on time, he will
begin to play rubbish to draw your attention.
“Can I praise my government when the infrastructure is
poor. Definitely, there is communication gap in this
country. The government hardly listens to the people
and it is obvious to all. Let them do some thing that we
can praise them for.”
Mike Nzeagwu, head consultant, MetroMedia
Consultants, and a former journalist, reminded the
minister, who he said was his friend, that the main duty
of the media was to set agenda for development, for
good governance and to keep those in authority in
check.
“The moment those in authority and the media begin to
sing from the same hymn book, especially in developing
countries where leadership is not accountable, then we
have a greater problem.
Maku knows this too well being a journalist himself and
a principled and non conformist at that during his active
days in the media. The government should be
uncomfortable with the media, not because they are
members of the opposition parties, but because their
primary duty is to keep government in check. That is
why they are called the ‘Fourth Estate of the Realm,’” he
said.
Speaking in the same vein, Jenkins Alumona, a media
practitioner, also said media all over the the world was
partisan on the side of the people. Even universally,
some media align to parties but they are fair and
objective.
In such generalisation of the media in partisan
journalism, the minister said it was easy to pick up a
newspaper today and you will know which political party
the paper was supporting and wondered whether the
newspapers were political bulletins.
Underlying the importance of media in nation building,
he said it was only when Nigerian journalism was freed
from the shackles and partisanship that the nation
could progress as a great country.

credit: Daniel Obi.

posted by:@djshyluckjimmy

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