Exposed: The Media Conspiracy Against Jonathan’s Government
From the time immemorial, the media have always served as the nexus between the government and the people! Therefore, the intermediary role of the media in a growing democracy like ours should be in the realm of shaping public opinions and influencing public policies for the promotion of good governance as well as building positive and sustained good image for the country.
At the same time, practioners should try hard to avoid the adversarial role of the media in a setting like Nigeria where development is needed than antagonism; and where there is no permanent news source and no permanent news receiver! This is the concept contained in Development Media Theory, which is prescribed for the third-world countries! This is where communication scholars believes that, the media should be a partner in progress instead of been used as a tool by antidemocratic elements in scuttling the democratic aspirations of the people!
This is why neither the Libertarian Press Theory nor the Authoritarian Press Theory which we collectively witnessed one of the two during the era of the military juntas in the country failed. The two Press Theories were not acceptable for both the advanced democracies and developing democracies of the world! Hence, in an attempt to find a common ground for the government, the media and the people, Social Responsibility Press Theory was introduced and popularized.
The synoptic content of this theory says, the press should be free, but practitioners should be responsible! Under this theory, the media is expected to service the economic system, hold society together, set the agenda, inform and service the political system. Our ever dependable and trustworthy media have been true to this very role until recently when some sections of the media for reasons best known to them decided to derail!
However, doing the content analysis of some sections of the media which I don't want to mention here, any objective and unbiased researcher cum media practitioner will notice that, the number of unfavorable coverage given to President Jonathan's Government and his re-election bid is more than the number of favourable coverage given to him, despite the giant strides of this indefatigable President!
As a trained Journalist, I was made to understand during my under graduate days, that, the press in any society is the reflection and the coloration of the society it represents! What this means is that, if a foreigner should come to Nigeria and wants to know about our political system, our lifestyles etc, the one-stop-shop for that is to go through the contents gathered and published by our media.
This is not to talk of the media been the only channel used in gauging the mood of the nation as well as the opinion of the people! General Ibrahim Babangida understands this aspect very well when he admitted in one of the rare interviews he granted to one our media outfit some years ago. He said, in those days when the khaki boys scare us with their guns and uniform, what they use in gauging the mood of the nation before attempting it was the general opinion expressed by the people in the media and the opinion of the various news outlets known as editorial!
Similarly, Walter Lippmann, the man who propounded the 'Agenda Setting Theory', one of the press theories noted that, the media has not only succeeded in telling us what to think, but, they have also succeeded in putting pictures on our heads as well as telling us how to think about them! This is why the 'Gate keepers' of those sections of the media that have decided to eternally become 'Anti-Jonathan' media organizations should start backtracking from their hard stance! If there cannot be partner in progress for the overall development of our dear country as development media theorists have recommended for developing democracies like ours, then, there should be unbiased and objective in their coverage, which is among the professional ethics of journalism! Re-inventing 'Yellow Journalism' for the sake of the President in the 21st century when the conventional media should be tackling some of the challenges posed by the wrong application of 'Citizen Journalism' by quacks is the least thing the industry currently needs to remain relevant!
Therefore, instead of been consumed by their avarice to portraying President Good Luck Jonathan's Government and his re-election bid in the bad light, they should try their utmost by helping the civil society organizations in strengthening some of our flabby democratic institutions. They should also acculturate some of the basic tenets of democratic cultures on our people; because, it has been observed that, though we have welcomed democracy as a system of government in Nigeria, but some of our cultural practices are yet to accommodate some of the fundamental idles and values inherent in democratic beliefs and practice.
Nonetheless, even though people have been scolding me for my unabating support as well as defending Jonathan's Government in the face of mounting opprobrium, which sometimes are not constructive criticism, I still believe that our fledgling democracy still have to be nurtured and grown to perfection! Because, it is only when we have a stable country that we can practice democracy. Hence, since some of our past democratic experiments have gone the other way, we must therefore defile our primordial differences to cherish and grow our 15 year old democratic journey to a globally recognized standard!
Therefore, I make bold to say that President Jonathan in the eye of some, may not be their preferred candidate for the plumb job, but, he certainly occupies the chance to effect the change we need and yearned for, which are all embedded in the Transformation Agenda. Hence, we must support this gentleman for the agenda to see the light of the day.
Comrade Edwin E. Uhara is a staunch supporter of President Good Luck Jonathan's Government and his reelection bid! He is also an activist and commentator on National and International Affairs.
Reach him on 07065862479 or email him on [email protected]
He is writing from Abuja.