A panel of editors and security experts has reached a conclusion that falling standard in the practice of journalism has been responsible for the frequent frictions between the practitioners and security agents in the country.
This was even as the former Director of the Nigeria Army Public Relations, retired Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka attributed the frictions to diametrical opposed roles of the security agents and the journalists, saying that while the military would want to keep most of its operations secret in view of the sensitivity of such role, journalists would want to make all the activities of the military public.
Discussing the matter in Abuja yesterday, January 31, at a one-day symposium on media freedom themed: Election 2023: Security, Media and Safety, the panel said that most of the journalists lack the essential attributes of the profession.
Leading the discourse at the symposium, put together by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), were Dele Alake, special adviser on media to the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Vice Chairman of TVC Communications; Chief spokesman of the Directorate of State Service (DSS), Dr. Peter Afunanya; retired Brigadier General Kukasheka; chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, FCT Correspondents’ Chapel, Shagari Sambo; Director of the International Press Institute (IPC), Lanre Arogundade and other editors.
Dele Alake noted that the standard of the media operations, from top to bottom, has fallen because most of them are operating based on satisfying personal ambition and not to promote the media industry for the good of the country.
This was even as Dr. Afunanya expressed worry over the invasion of media world by none professionals that are promoting fake news, hate speech and misinformation as well as other negative elements that question the integrity of the media.
Dr. Afunanya said that the DSS, conscious of the need to promote safety and security for the journalists, had created some windows to achieve the goal but that, many journalists have been using such opportunities for purely selfish and unprofessional ways.
Retire Brigadier General Kukasheka agreed that the relationship between the military and media had never been positive, adding that it had degenerated to what he called “love-hate” and is marked with mutual suspicion.
“While the military operates in strict adherence to hierarchical order and is also secretive and suspicious of outsiders, the journalists feel that all that the military does, apart from those that will jeopardize national security, should be open to the public.
“While the military believes that most of its activities should be kept under strict cover, a journalist, conversely, feels that they should be made public. This has, however, led to conflicts and misunderstandings between the two, although they are working for the general interest of the populace.
“Regardless of the frequent clashes and misunderstandings between them, the fact is that they both need each other to succeed. Even though the military wants the media to tell the public about some of its activities, media wants the military to tell the public about almost everything. Hence the need to fashion a connecting point where the two crucial organs can work together for the good of the nation.”
Others who spoke on the panel, besides the key-note addressed delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Kashere, Professor Umaru Pate, are Moji Makanjuola of the NTA fame; Busola Ajibola, Chiamaka Okafor, Cynthia Mbamali, Stephanie O. Adams (Deputy Manager, Media Freedom in CJID) and others.