Moghalu counsels Nigerian media against unprofessional conduct in news reporting
This advice was given by former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and presidential aspirant, Prof. Kinsley Moghalu, at the 4th anniversary lecture of TheNiche newspaper, which held recently in Lagos.
Moghalu noted that due to the advent of technology, a lot of false information was being spread, which had affected the level of professionalism among certified journalists.
“Thirty years after I left it, the media landscape in Nigeria has changed significantly. Print consumption is in what looks like permanent decline, with online consumption holding sway. While the mode of consumption of news has changed, the role of the media to inform has not changed.
“We exist in a time that is defined more and more by what some have called an information deluge.
In addition to traditional media like TV, radio, billboards and so on, we now have the constant barrage of notifications from our mobile phones, alerting us to all sorts of things, the majority of which could be described as trivial.
And yet these trivialities have the capacity to take up all our time and leave us unable to focus on the things around us that truly matter.
Media today is indistinguishable from technology. Where once the medium was separate from the message, they have become one and the same, fulfilling Marshall McLuhan’s prophecy,” he said.
Speaking on the importance of development reporting, Moghalu said that it was a major economy boost to Nigeria’s economy, noting that it became a forgotten aspect of journalism because it “sought to survive in the increasingly capitalist economies by being relevant to its consumers by giving more attention to new trends.”
Moghalu also spoke on the consequences of hysteria journalism in media practice in Nigeria, noting, “Hysteria journalism raises questions. It is a reflection of our society, a reflection of how our leaders have divided us.
We have become marginalized, divided against one another and the media is fuelling it by reporting it on a daily basis. Take, for example, the looters’ list released by the presidency. There is absolutely no sense in the media publishing it on the front pages of the newspapers.
What they should be doing is investigating the suspects, presenting their facts in the court of law and getting the offenders jailed, and not playing political football against their political opponents and creating enmity for their supporters.”
Furthermore, Moghalu said one of the major ways by which the media could play a vital role in social transformation is through investigative journalism: “By uncovering evidence of malfeasance and shedding light on social ills, journalists can influence public discourse in a major way.
There is so much that is wrong with our country today, and a vibrant tradition of investigative reporting can help change this.
“My vision for the Nigerian media is that it becomes a creator and initiator of a society where worldview permeates through the corridors of power.”
In response to Moghalu’s postulations, Funke Egbemede, President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, stated that hysteria journalism had come to stay in the media industry because of the need for media organizations to survive, adding, “I have no complain about all what he (Moghalu) spoke about.
But I am sorry to say that things will get worse. The media though has a function of developing the society, yet it remains an industry, a business enterprise.
Also, Senator Bukola Saraki in his opening remark praised the timeliness of the Nigerian press, using the quick reporting of the mace saga as an illustration.
“The Senate understands the importance of the media,” he said. “The media today has changed the way people think, talk and behave.
Those who perpetrated the theft of the Senate’s mace thought they were in the 1940s, where news immediacy was not rampant and they could have tampered with the fact. The media is the defendant of democracy. It is very powerful and helps to preserve our democracy.”
Furthermore, Prof. Remi Sonaiya, while delivering a speech she dedicated to Leah Sharibu – the remaining girl in Boko Haram’s captivity – commended the work of the media but advised against any form of bias in news reporting, especially during the forthcoming elections.
“I always imagine the media as a major stakeholder in the state’s enterprise,” she said. “However, I observed that in the last election, the media focused only on two candidates, while neglecting the rest.
Therefore, I hope that in this forthcoming elction, the media would be objective and make the electorate know that they have options.”
Notable dignitaries at the event were Sen. Bruce, Yerima, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Egbemede, President, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Sonaiya, former presidential candidate and a Professor of English Language, Joe Igbokwe, APC Publicity Secretary, and His Highness Kalu Kalu Ogbu among others.
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