One of the revelations of this presidential campaign is how emasculated and disgracefully inefficient our traditional media is in Nigeria. Online debates are more muscular and dynamic in my view. But 80% of Nigerians do not have access.
In better democracies, the traditional media leads on and chooses the agenda to scrutinise politicians on. The dominant headlines are media-driven based on their take on the evolving stories. Of course their biases and inclinations will influence this. But to have a political party choose the story for the media to focus on in a political campaign is a sign of a dysfunctional media landscape.
The nasal obsession of the media on Buhari certificate saga in the past week has shown how easy it is to deflect them from focusing on more important matters of state or even show leadership by leading and lifting the discuss to more pertinent matters affecting the security, welfare and wellbeing of the people. In most elections, the challengers are held to account for sure but the bigger stories tend to be the report card of the incumbent as that is easier to measure.
The Nigerian media are doing a lot to stifle proper debate to the detriment of our democracy. Channels TV cut short Pastor Bakare’s broadcast two weeks ago when he appeared critical of President Jonathan. Few days ago while criticising Jonathan Silverbird TV cut off Kayemo live on air; blaming a technical error. Hmmmm. Convenient .
This is despite all the state media apparatus from FRSN, NAN, NTA, NOA etc all batting for the administration. The media will lose even more credibility if they continue to stifle debate or silent critical opinion of government.
The forth estate should live up to its responsibilities by challenging ALL parties equally and demand accountability for promises made and broken.