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Expert warns against abuse of community media 

By Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta
10 December 2019   |   4:05 am
Community newspapers are meant to be powerful agents of social charge, which can be encouraged to mobilise the people at the grassroots to support governments in their developmental efforts.

Community newspapers are meant to be powerful agents of social charge, which can be encouraged to mobilise the people at the grassroots to support governments in their developmental efforts.

The General Manager of Ogun State Television (OGTV), Mr. Festus Kehinde, who made the assertion in Abeokuta recently, however, warned against the abuse of community newspapers and advised that they should rather be used to enlighten the people at the grassroots on issues affecting the society. He spoke while delivering the 28th anniversary lecture of a leading community newspaper in Ogun, Prestige.

The ceremony, held in Abeokuta, was in honour of some prominent personalities for their positive contributions to the development of the country’s media.

While recounting how community newspapers could be abused, Kehinde said, “The role of the community media in Rwanda was identified as the major catalyst for the ethnic cleansing and genocide that threatened the very existence of that nation in 1994. No wonder there was a major outcry in Nigeria when it was proposed that a community radio be established to control activities of nomadic herdsmen who frequently clashed with farmers in their quest before pasture for their herds.

“Herein lies the dangerous role of community media when not properly controlled. In contemporary world, the power of the media has become more entrenched in the minds of people and has also advanced in terms of practice and in the various options available for people’s consumption.

“We have identified that community media play alternative, oppositional, participatory, and collaborative roles in our national development.”

Also speaking at the event, Ogun State Police Command’s spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, gave different tips on security watch and advised the people not to be careless about security issues in their communities.

He said, “If at night your generator suddenly goes off, do not go out to check it, especially if you just serviced it. This is one of the new ways kidnappers use to attack people. If also you hear a tap running in the night in your compound, don’t go out to check it with the attempt to lock it. Leave it till the following day; you will pump another one. This is a ploy being used to kidnap people by kidnappers.”

Publisher of Prestige newspapers, Mr. Dada Olanipekun, in his welcome address, urged the Department of State Security Service (SSS) to obey court order and release the convener of #RevolutionNow, Mr. Omoyele Sowore.

While speaking on Ogun politics, Olanipekun described the pace at which the state governor, Dapo Abiodun, was running his administration as too slow. He also decried the poor condition of roads in the state capital, Abeokuta.

He urged the governor to change his style of governance and brace up for his responsibility.

He said, “This governor is too slow. The roads in Abeokuta are bad. We have done a survey and discovered that there are 1,750 potholes in Abeokuta roads.”

The highlight of the ceremony was awards bestowed on some prominent personalities. They included Ogun State Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr. Hammed Abodunrin, Provost, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Dr. Ayodele Ajayi, Executive Secretary, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mr. Olalekan Kuye.

Abodunrin, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, said Olanipekun is a highly professional journalist, whose integrity could not be questioned.