Journalism and insurgency in Nigeria
Journalism is also the process of collecting, writing, editing and publishing or broadcasting news or information.
Insurgency is an attempt to take control of a country by force. Insurgency is a concept that is fluid and largely subject to arguments which are capable of generating emotional exchanges due to differing perspectives and divergent understanding and positions. It has been a global phenomenon, particularly in Nigeria with the emergence of groups, which leads to kidnapping, bombing, disruptions of worship places such as mosques and churches, killing of innocent people and the destruction of millions of properties.
Insurgency has caused a lot of trauma in the hearts of many Nigerians even the non-Nigerians in the fight against terrorism. Insurgency has undergone a lot of changes in trend over the years in Nigeria. The root of insurgency in Nigeria is as a result of massive and unchecked corruption, greed, selfishness and inadequate vision. Boko Haram is not only the internal security problem that the country is facing, there are numerous cases such as kidnapping, armed robbery, rapes, sexual assaults, and other problem even gender discrimination is also among the problems that Nigerians are facing.
The journalists play a very vital role during insurgency in Nigeria as they try to serve as agents in conflict affected areas. The media is seen as a source of power, influence and control. The media promotes new standards in the society and reinforces the existing ones, because journalists are principal agents for societal development, democracy and good governance and crucial elements in areas of conflict.
It is the responsibility of the government to save lives and property of its citizens but in Nigeria the reverse is the case. Thousands of people are being killed and properties worth billions of Naira are being destroyed owing to insurgency in the country and the Nigerian government is doing nothing to tackle this. Rather, some of those in power are busy transferring public funds into their national and international private accounts.
It is apparent that insurgency did not start today; it started from the military era. At that time letter bombs were used to execute top Nigerians that felt the government then was tyrannous and oppressive. For instance, during the military rule Dele Giwa was killed with a letter bomb. Even in the present time journalists are not still safe in Nigeria most especially in the Northern region where insurgency is a very critical issue daily bombarding in the state.
The media plays an important role in information dissemination when a country faces security challenges for the masses to know what the country is up against and the press suggests the way forward. The media serves as a powerful instrument for mobilisation but with all this, they are squeezed between threat of violence attack on the one hand and censorship on the other. There is also the possibility of prosecution set in motion by the government.
Extremists constitute another group of threat to journalists. They deliberately target journalist especially in countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mali, and Somalia. In these countries, extremists study what journalists report. One only needs to read reports of how journalists are being treated when they publish a report against the government. They are arrested and prosecuted and if the report published is against the terrorist group they are killed. This has made publishing and the practice of journalism hazardous most especially in Northern Nigeria where Boko Haram wages war to impose Sharia.
Boko Haram sect members cannot be said to be true Moslems, rather they are a mixture of religious and highly educated elite who are been sponsored to disintegrate Nigeria.
The media plays a befitting role in reconciliation and resolution most especially during violence as they are seen as the Fourth Estate of the Realm whose duty is to serve as a mechanism of control and accountability to the public.
• Takuma wrote from Mass Communication Department, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State.