I have noted with serious concern through observation of recent atrocities happening all over the country and I felt that there is an inherent problem in our media practitioners in Nigeria. As media practitioners, who are presumed to be objective in performing their “watchdog” role for the well being and development of the society, it is expected that we drop all our biasness and focus on fair reporting of issues. This, however, should be regardless of who are perpetrators or victims. Over the years, there have been complaints about skewed reporting by Nigerian media. These complaints remained unaddressed. Recently, the challenges facing the country increased, so also the complaints.
What can we now say is the problem of Nigerian media not responding to such complaints of unfair, subjective and bias reporting? Is it a pressure from the owners of such media or inherent biasness of our colleagues in the media practice? In my opinion, the two have impact but the latter seems to be more glaring than the former. I want to state categorically that pretence is killing us in this country. We all pretend to be tolerant and accommodating on the face while our hearts is filled with hatred, divisive, discriminative and devilish agendas.
Until we begin to fight the battle inside us and learn to teach our hearts how to live with one another, we will never know peace. To our colleagues in the newsrooms, you have a huge responsibility. The work you are doing is a work for all. The provisions in the constitution that provides you with freedom to practice, also the same constitution provides that we must work towards safety of all. Whenever we hold the pen or press the keyboard to write or type a story, we must make sure we reasoned well and ask ourselves: what is the impact of what I will write? How would it affect the people? How does it strengthen unity? How does it promote peace?
Let us also remember, the freedom that provides us with privilege to hold the government accountable to the people also suggest that we must be accountable to what we are doing. Imbalance reporting, unfair labeling and profiling, fueling crisis through attracting cheap clicks will do us more harm than good. We must always uphold the spirit of peacebuilding and ensure the content we produce bring us good feedback than backlash.
Mohammed Auwal Umar writes from Maiduguri. Email: email@example.com