Nigerian Media Undermining its Watchdog Role – Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the Nigerian media is undermining its watchdog role by engaging in some activities preventing it from holding power to account.

The Minister stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at an interactive session of the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit with the topic, “The Fourth Estate – Holding Power Accountable’’.

“Today, it is not uncommon to have media organizations hold annual award ceremonies. In most cases, their awardees are top officials of the same government they are supposed to hold accountable.

“Such awards include Governor or Governors of the Year; Minister or Ministers of the Year; Politician or Politicians of the Year. Let’s even forget the fact that the criteria for giving such awards are dubious, at best.

“Let’s forget that some of these awardees support the awarding organizations in one form or the other, especially during the awards.

“To what extent can such media organizations hold their awardees, most of them top officials of government at all levels, accountable?

“Is this not antithetical to the watchdog role prescribed for the press in the Constitution?’’.

The Minister also identified the engagement of partisan media men to anchor sensitive programmes as another factor preventing the fourth estate to hold power to account.

“For example, there is a national television station here in this country that has, as one of its anchors, a partisan, a known opposition party man.

“Yes, the said anchor is also a journalist. But what kind of objectivity can we expect from such an Anchor? No matter how professional he seeks to be, his partisanship will always be a blur.

“Can such Anchor or his medium be trusted to objectively hold power accountable?’’ he queried.

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