World over, the media is known as the forth estate of the realm, which makes it a serious watchdog which must directly or indirectly influence the activities of the other arms of government, for the good of the public.
The implication by this is that a vibrant and responsible media results surely into a healthy state, leadership and citizenship wise.
Nigerians media industry over the decades has recorded serious high’s and lows, owing to the various situations that have affected their existence and practice. Practitioners too who have varying degrees of professionalism have recorded different attainments in the course of their operations. Some of them have been objectively productive, so much so that they have won laurels and have impacted governance positively through meaningful and critical reportage.
Many others too have lost their lives discharging their duties as ‘monitors’ ‘Observers’ and ‘reporters’, who must damn the consequences and blow it open. One of such was late Dele Giwa of the then Newswatch Magazine, who was killed using a letter bomb during a military regime.
The fact that post independence Nigeria has dwelled more under military rule than it has civilian, perhaps has been behind the weak media mechanism that operates in the polity, effecting it negatively. Moreso, the inability of the successive governments or administrations to make laws that will make the media industry that runs in Nigeria. It is common knowledge that despite the viciousness of the Nigerian society and the spate of insecurity, Nigerian journalists (majority of them) operates without any insurance policies, or even good remuneration. Situations which makes them operate in fear and a ‘sealed up’ condition.
Another factor is the fact that several media outfits, (print and electronics) are directly or indirectly controlled by the government or certain political powers brokers, which limits the scope of professionalism and objectivity in information dissemination, an instrumental for the requisite checks and balances that lead to social sanity; in terms of responsible leadership and citizenship.
The situation has become worse today with the influx of numerous media outfits, mostly operating online, which survive uncensored and poorly financed.They too have joined the avalanche of others already subjected to unsavoury security, economic and social conditions.
In better climes, the media practitioners (journalists) are respected and protected to a very high extent, and these healthy and toward conditions contribute to their high level of productivity that in turn reflects in how the wheel of the society runs. As it presently stands, Nigeria’s media is under an ailment judging by these highlighted points and facts, which has allowed corruption; malfeasance, injustice, oppression, intimidation, victimization etc to continue to wax strong with little or no check from the supervisory organ: THE MEDIA.
By: Samuel Prince Chukwudi Timothy