Channels TV and the challenge of independence – Part 2
Assessing Channels TV against these shifting variables would be best from the manner in which they have cultivated believability. They have strived to grow trust partly through the apolitical positioning of the chairman and vice-chairman, and the fact that they have largely not being involved in any controversy like many of their media-owning peers. These speak to their discipline, sense of purpose, and a commitment to professionalism. The character has consciously or unconsciously helped in building the much-needed credibility, for believability.
What about the content? Media content development is a project in progress. Regardless, Channels TV is complete with its coverage, hovering over multi-sectors, and with reasonably huge depth. Unlike the newspaper reporter, the TV journalist could be said to have a relatively much more encumbered by red tapes around gadgets. Reason being that he needs a visual embellishment of stories, cuttings and perhaps a voice validation. He needs to move with another, a cameraman, save in the unlikely event he wants to do this by himself.
This, alongside the capital-intensive nature of the studio, structures and systems, combine to make the business burdensome and laborious. It makes the business requires more preparation. For a private firm to have been above average in the way Channels TV has been, especially in a developing economy, highly susceptible to many unpredictable things, has aided stability and shaped its claim to independence.
We live in a difficult system, where egos are ballooned, and where the rich or the powerful assumes money can buy anything, including the souls of media organisations. Seeing that one of them is standing out alone, and unbending, creates an impossible myth, an ambiguity, that should be bent sooner than later. The situation is not also helped by the statistics of TV station ownership in Nigeria. There are about 25 stations, including the public and the private. Of this number, about 16 are private. And amongst the private majority, many of them have famous affiliations to politically exposed persons, with undisguised partisanship. There is practically no problem with this, given another nature of man to long, belong, to ride, override, in pursuit of power, happiness and prosperity.
Intertwined with it however is that try as the professionals in those organisations might often times be; or qualified and experienced as they could show in their practice, the tag and the tar of ownership often hardly leaves. It is always an unfortunate situation where blame could hardly be traded on the cause. The benefiting organisation in the society is the one that is closest to neutrality, the one with no known political, ideological, religious or cultural affiliation.
Like Channels TV, the detached groups are better known not just for their excellence, or their strive for perfection, but in the way they are being badgered by interest groups, and more especially the political groups. While it could be party A today, tomorrow it could be party B, and the day after, it could be party C, and continuously. And it could happen at different times, over spaces, in what appears a drive for control by each party on every occasion. The independent organisation like Channels TV is spared only when nothing seem at stake. The competing interest groups are pleased by objectivity in a contest-free situation, but resume it in the state of quest for an edge. In the circumstance, accusation and counter-accusation as well, only the detached viewer, who are mercifully in the majority are appreciative, happier for it, and looking forward for more quality service.
Many thanks again to the talent hunting ability of its CEO, Channels TV is famed for recruiting promising professionals, and for the production of stars. The organisation is reportedly complete with well-heeled off-screen producers and managers, who have combined to support the exposure of multi-talented and exemplary users of the English Language that includes presenters like Maupe Ogun Yusuf, Chamberlain Usoh, Nneota Egbe, Ajuri Ngelale, Seun Okinbaloye, amongst others. With their upend professional efficiency, you can be sure, yet again, that Channels TV is not just bound for higher grounds, but ready to steady its gait on the steps of the challenge of independence. It should only get better.
Dr. Adeniyi is a diasporic and strategic communication scholar, he teaches Mass Communication at Baze University, Abuja.
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