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Saturday, 14 September 2019

FAMILY WRITERS PRESS EDITORIAL: JOURNALISM, PROPAGANDA AND NEWS CENSORSHIP IN NIGERIA

FAMILY WRITERS PRESS EDITORIAL: JOURNALISM, PROPAGANDA AND NEWS CENSORSHIP IN NIGERIA

From time immemorial, various state sponsored censorship on news articles and reports have been recorded in Nigeria which can never find comfort amongst well informed minds. It is therefore important to fully understand this malady in the country and how it has steadily resisted meaningful developments vis-a-vis the roles of the powers that be, against vibrant and professional journalism.

Conditioned or better still, compromised Nigerian journalists have unfortunately, been so bereft of progressivism in the generation and originality of their news items which have really become issues of concern. Ethical journalism has grossly been compromised in this part of the world. Nigeria means different things to different people and so, fundamentally and constitutionally, is supposed to provide the enabling environment needed to engender and advance the preservation of journalistic ethos amidst inherent diverse cultures of the people. Ethnic and religious concerns must have to be factored in and treated with fairness and in diplomacy. It is shamefully disappointing that having the opposite has rather become the case.

The Nigerian government is extremely corrupt by every standard which has inadvertently, institionalized news censorship across board. This has gravely encouraged bribery by government agents/officials of all supposed people-oriented media outlets. Freedom of expression ought to have been the exclusive right of all citizens in the country. This is clearly provided for and protected by section 39 (1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Despite this constitutional provision however, the Nigerian media has been in firm control of the government right from history. The constitution explicitly grants every citizen the right of freedom of expression as well as the Press. The media is only theoretically enjoying this as it's viability is withdrawn at will by the same government when it's evil policies and intents feel threatened. Tool of propaganda (lies and deceit) has been strictly in use as a key to garner public support through the media industry.

Propaganda which is a form of communication, employs the usage of variety of techniques to try to negatively or positively influence the decision of the populace towards an ideology, position or agenda. This goal is often being achieved through the instrumentality of misleading information, swaying people's opinion and belief into agreeing with an alien formulation. In our daily endeavors, we are made to go through hundreds of divergent propaganda machinaries and journalistic works.  Differentiating between the two is not cumbersome as they have noticeable traits. Propaganda itself, is simply and clearly premised on biased view point while ethical journalism represents presentation of news or information in an unbiased stand point. Media bias occurs when professional news outlets choose to blatantly omit facts, perspectives or sources and resort to jaundiced stories that align with sponsored agenda against the popular wish of the people, through government inducements or threats.

The 1967 war of attrition targeted against Biafrans by the Nigerian government clearly depicts an example of what propaganda means as orchestrated by the British. The colonialists sold lies to the nations of the world through their media, thereby swaying them into backing Nigeria to unleash mayhem against Biafrans which lasted for three good years. Over 3.5 million Biafrans including men, women, children and the elderly perished as a result. It is widely known that propaganda and news/information censorship play potent roles in a society, taking instance from Nigeria/Biafra debacle that is yet persistent. Limiting this evil drive to the events of past history, amounts to gross disservice and misconception. It is still here with us by the events of the Nigerian government of today and it must have to be roundly confronted and defeated.

Written by Domendu Emilia
Editor, Family Writers Press International

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