Gov Fayemi has urged the media to hold the government accountable for the misuse of power says no media no nation
EKO HOT BLOG reports that Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, on Monday, said there can be no nation without the media, even as he urged the Nigerian media to hold the government accountable for any misuse of power.
He said that modern mass democracy is possible in part because of the mass media.
Fayemi disclosed this at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism’s (NIJ) 60th convocation lecture, titled “Media, Security and Nation Building”.
According to the governor, the media can help in building the country by holding every government official for any misuse of power.
“Media should hold the government accountable for the misuse of power,” Fayemi said.
He further revealed while speaking on the history of the Nigerian Press that without the media, democracy wouldn’t have been achieved.
On the allegation that the government is overregulating the media space, the governor suggested that journalists should hold themselves accountable.
“There is a threat to journalism, there are gatekeepers in the industry and we must find means to deal with the excesses of some overzealous persons who would just go and post anything that catches their fancy online. It is not for government to address that, it is for professionals to deal with themselves,” he noted.
Giving a background to how journalism has evolved over the years in Nigeria, he praised the media in the country for being in the vanguard of the fight for justice and democracy.
According to him, “I wanted to underscore the fact that we cannot account for the assets and liabilities of the Nigerian state in the current era without accounting for how the independent media played a central role in ensuring that we have a nation in the first instance.
“In his analysis of the ‘Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,’ the American political sociologist, Barrington Moore, famously stated: ‘No bourgeoisie, no democracy!’ We can say in the Nigerian context, ‘No Media, no nation!’ And we will mean this not only in the globally-acknowledged fact that there can be no true democracy without an independent media but also in the specific reality of Nigeria: that without the important work and sacrifices by the pro-democracy press, Nigeria could not have had democratic rule today.
“Modern mass democracy is possible in part because of the mass media. The access that the media affords ordinary citizens, it has been noted, creates conditions of dialogues between the rulers and the ruled. The media’s role in the periods when a nation is experiencing security challenges is critical because these are moments when the civic impact of journalism is fully obvious. It is the time when the media must promote inclusion rather than sectarian exclusion.”
While agreeing with the fact that journalism should be for the development of society, he said a number of encumbrances were on the way and charged practitioners not to be discouraged.
The Vice-Chairman of the Governing Council of the NIJ, and chairperson of the occasion, Mr Ray Ekpu, said the topic for the lecture evoked a lot of passion because of its closeness to people’s hearts.
“It is one that tugs at our heartstrings. For the past 11 years, our country has been harassed by Boko Haram terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, herders, and other assorted criminals. Our media have focused attention like a laser beam on these incidents because it is their responsibility to do so as prescribed by the constitution of Nigeria,” he stated.
He charged Nigerians to decide on the type of nation they want to build for themselves and generations yet unborn.
A Professor of Mass Communication, Ralph Akinfeleye, urged state actors not to try and stifle the press in any way.
“The other name for democracy is a free press. The press wants to be the fourth estate of the realm not the fourth estate of the wreck. Government agencies trying to regulate the media are going overboard. Some of them have even become traders. They will be slamming fines needlessly on media outfits to raise money,” he said.
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