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Issues that will shape media landscape in 2023

By Sunday Aikulola
11 January 2023   |   4:05 am
Add New Post ‹ The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News — WordPressDespite multi-faceted challenges facing the country such as spiralling inflation, rising energy cost, scarcity of foreign exchange (FOREX), the dwindling value of the naira and manageable aviation sector, stakeholders in the media industry are confident that the modest 2.5 per cent…

Add New Post ‹ The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News — WordPressDespite multi-faceted challenges facing the country such as spiralling inflation, rising energy cost, scarcity of foreign exchange (FOREX), the dwindling value of the naira and manageable aviation sector, stakeholders in the media industry are confident that the modest 2.5 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection for 2023 would bring about a decent fiscal year for the industry. They also analysed issues that will shape the media in 2023.

Digital Media
Uchenna Uzo, Professor of Marketing and Academic Director, Africa Retail Academy, at a webinar organised by the mediaReach OMD, which held recently, noted during his presentation that major events will happen offline and be captured via traditional channels, adding that digital media will play a chief role in driving conversations during and after these activities.

According to him, “information dissemination (content) will be highly decentralised with social media taking the power away from the traditional channels and complicating the fight against fake news, tighter regulations around media owners and Influencer marketing will become high risk.”

On his part, Matt Angus Hammond, Regional Director, West Africa GeoPoll, stated that marketing to GenZ at scale will take new tech, channels and strategies.
“This tech savvy generation of consumers is used to being connected to the Internet from an early age and so this must come into play in designing content to reach them. These highly creative audiences also present a vista of opportunity for content development if well engaged, their value of authenticity, trust and inclusivity explains why they respond well to user generated content and community building. They will trust traditional media but want to be involved and heard.
“Media owners need to begin to think across platform consumption opportunities to keep this highly mobile audience captive as connected TV penetration increases with access to smart TVs viewership will also increase online.
“Media houses will constantly review their own channels and content to purposely create new formats or platforms and other solutions that can be used by advertisers. They would need to invest more in data and tech to improve audience targeting and engagements: drive performance measurements and compliance. Aggregating multiple channel touch points to advertise for more immersive connections,” he said.

2023 General Elections
Twenty-Three years after unbroken cycle of civil rule, the stage is set for the conduct of the 2023 General Elections. While the Presidential and National Assembly elections would hold on February 25, 2023, the governorship and State Assembly elections are scheduled for March 11, 2023.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 18 registered political parties are going to participate in the elections at various levels. President Buhari has also assured of transparent and credible poll.

With the Electoral Act, INEC has introduced series of reforms in the electoral process to make it transparent and credible. Key among the reforms is the deployment of technology for voter accreditation and real-time transmission of election results.

Some of the presidential candidates include, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, All Progressives Congress; Waziri Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate; the Labour Party’s Peter Obi and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

Safety of journalists covering elections

According to Media Rights Agenda (MRA) Programmes Officer, Ayode Longe, “as the 2023 general elections draw closer, I foresee an upsurge in the number of journalists and media workers that would be attacked for doing their work. The major perpetrators of these attacks would be political thugs, party faithful, and unfortunately, law enforcement and security agencies, as well.”

To Longe, government of the day should not just be reactive, but proactive in putting in place, mechanisms for protecting journalists and media workers in the run up to and during the elections.

He further advised: “Media houses also need to train their staff who will be covering the elections on how to ensure their safety. Their workers especially the cameramen who can easily be identified and spotted need to be trained to be able to assess the possible threat they may be exposed to at every event he/she will be covering and to determine how to go about his/her work.”

National Population Census
Seventeen years after, the National Population Commission (NPC) has announced plans to conduct a national census in the country.

In April 2022, the Federal Government said it would carry out national population census after the general elections. NPC said it is targeting to carry out the next one in April 2023.

At a recent capacity building workshop for staff of NPC and National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Lagos, the commission reassured that the 2023 exercise would be nation’s first digital census, saying it will be most credible than the previous.

The exercise will help in strategic national planning and proper deployment of resources.

The media is expected to create awareness and set agenda for the census. In fact, the commission’s Executive Chairman, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, recently said a strategic partnership with the media would form the platform upon which the census architecture is going to stand.

According to him, “we intend to ensure full automation of the Electronic Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (E-CVRS) to all the states of the federation. It is against this backdrop that I urge our friends in the media to assist us intensify the campaign on the use of data for evidence-based planning in the country.

“While it may be true that we do not have all the required data for all aspects of our national life, it is self-evident that key data-generating agencies in the country are doing all that is humanly possible to generate enough, at least, that can guide purposeful and result-oriented planning for our distraught nation. I am very confident that our media have the capacity to revolutionize our attitude to data and its use in this country.”

Revamping the economy

With inflation above 21per cent amid huge debt profile, the imperative of revamping the economy cannot be over emphasised.
The Federal Government recently said the incoming administration would inherit about N77 trillion debts by the time President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure ends in May this year.

Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms. Patience Oniha, disclosed this in Abuja, while fielding questions from journalists at the public presentation and breakdown of the highlights of the 2023 Appropriation Act.

Nigeria is currently ranked 163rd in the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) for the second consecutive year. The HDI, published annually by the UNDP since 1990, measures the long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living of 191 countries.

Over time, governance culture riddled with corruption has negative impact on the economy. This has worsened poverty and income inequality.

The press is expected to perform its constitutional duties by holding public officers to account. The press should also provide economic models that could revamp the nation’s ailing economy.

Security issues

For over a decade, Nigeria has been embroiled in conflict in the Northeast region with Boko Haram, and its breakaway factions including the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).

In the Northwest, years of conflict between herders and farming communities of Hausa ethnicity have given rise to a proliferation of criminal gangs with sophisticated weaponry that terrorise communities and kill, and kidnap people, including school children for ransom.

A series of attacks and threats close to seat of government in Abuja by Islamist and other armed groups have caused fear and apprehension among residents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the Southeast are also worrisome.

Meanwhile, last week, The Edo State Police Command announced that suspected herdsmen kidnapped an unspecified number of travellers waiting to board a train from Igueben, Igueben Council of the state, to Warri, Delta State.

The media should provide in-depth reporting, the activities and actions of criminals. The security agencies can work hand in hand with media houses to warn the public of these criminals and their activities.

Nigerians migrating to other countries

Recently, there is worrisome rise in human capital export, a trend popularly called “japa”. According to reports, at least 5,600 Nigerian medical doctors have migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) in the last eight years.

Poor working conditions, insecurity and unfriendly economic challenges have been blamed for the wave of migration. The poor living standard; high cost of living; human rights violations; among other reasons have also been cited as other reasons young Nigerians seek greener pastures in other climes.

The founder of the Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, recently urged Nigerian youths against relocating abroad. He said the ‘japa’ Syndrome is not the best option.

It also behoves the media to change the narrative by emphasising the need to improve citizens’ quality of life, thereby discouraging them against travelling abroad.

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