State of the nation and role of the media

As the National Assembly and its state counterparts are gradually settling down after the tea port storms over the election of their presiding and principal officers, it might be worthwhile looking at the media and how we fared these past months and weeks – before, during and since after the general elections. Can we beat our chests and proclaim that we have done well overall? Certainly not.
Though some media organizations tried their best to report accurately as events unfolded, a lot more of the irregular publications that hit the streets only at election periods were everything that news media should not be.
They were blatantly partisan and operated as if there were no regulations guiding the practice of Journalism.
There were also the genre of the unedited media of the Internet which are more popularly, though incorrectly, called “Social Media,” as if the other media serve no social purpose.
However, when we discuss the media, it is usually the more serious publications and electronic media that are alluded to. How much did they report and interrogate power and the wielders of power? Did they just act as echoes or megaphone of the authorities? How much of agenda setting did they engage in to guide the political class in the rudiments of decent public discourse? Did we show enough professionalism  to earn the respect  of the enlightened citizenry? In handling vital security issues, how much discretion has the media displayed?
Does the Nigerian press have any identifiable guiding ideology? What influence does brown or white envelope have over our reporting, reportage and commentary?
We can go on and on asking questions most of which are rhetoric. It was about time the media does some introspection to evaluate it’s real role in the society. Either as a result of lack of adequate training or experience, many media organisations let toxic and incendiary materials be published in their print and electronic media.
The regulators of the media industry and professional organizations such as the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ), Guild of Editors and the League of Veteran Journalists should get together and work out a series of training and retraining for media practitioners to hone their skills and enhance their knowledge.
A lot is required of journalists and writers in the current dispensation to ensure they effectively set the agenda for public debates and discourse.

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