BON Chairman Challenges Broadcasters To Be Balanced, Objective And Fair

BON Chairman Challenges Media Operators On Greater Transparency, Accountability
BON Chairman, Mr John Momoh

 

The Chairman of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Mr John Momoh, has challenged media operators in the country, especially broadcasters to be more transparent in the course of their duties.

Mr Momoh, who is also the Chairman/CEO of Channels Media Group, said this on Wednesday while addressing BON 69th General Assembly in Lagos State.

“Greater transparency and accountability are much needed in the current climate of misinformation, political lies and widespread distrust.

“In the social and political circumstance that we live in, the broadcaster should strive to be a medium of moderation, in such a way as to relay information with decorum, with a logic of perspective, and to be dispassionate in news reporting,” he said.

READ ALSOJohn Momoh Addresses BON General Assembly [FULL TEXT]

The BON chairman noted that the rules and codes of practice of journalism had already highlighted balance, objectivity, and fairness as some of the key requirements in the profession.

He said that although the operators have a general understanding of these values; some keep them while others drop the ball in some cases.

As Nigeria steps into another critical time in its political life, Momoh urged the broadcasters to perform their roles creditably and professionally.

He also warned them to give careful thought to how content is being created, to avoid discrimination, lack of understanding, misinformation, intolerance and conflict.

He said, “There are several examples of where literal work or media content has been a source of great human conflict. There are also many examples of how a misguided broadcast has caused upheaval in societies, just because due regard for the rights or wishes of others have not been considered.

“We cannot also overstate our obligations as broadcasters, either in the moral or in the constitutional sense. In all the dimensions, the charge before us is not only very clear but also onerous, which is why we cannot afford to shirk our responsibilities.”

The Channels Media Group boss stressed further that the occurrence of hate speech cannot be undermined, with the growing influence of social media and its likely role in the forthcoming elections.

Momoh described hate speech as a great threat to national cohesion which can only be rivalled by physical harm, through maiming, and killings.

Some of the other speakers at the event are the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, as well as distinguished broadcaster and diplomat, Dr Christopher Kolade.

Professor Yakubu gave an insight into the preparations for the coming elections as it relates to the media, while Dr Kolade focused on hate speech in the build-up to the 2019 polls.

You Cannot Censor The Media, PDP Tells FG

You Cannot Censor The Media, PDP Tells FG

 

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken a swipe at the Federal Government over what it perceives as an attempt to censor the media.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement on Thursday faulted the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who briefed journalists on the government’s achievements so far.

“APC’s attempt to gag the media is pathetic, as no amount of censorship or bandying of false figures would stop Nigerians from reflecting on the real state of affairs in our country today,” he said while criticising the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Ologbondiyan believes President Muhammadu Buhari’s government seems to have dashed the expectations of numerous Nigerians.

He claimed that the minister gave “unverifiable statistics” of the government’s achievements when he received a team of journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

The PDP spokesman noted that the purported failures of the Federal Government must not be downplayed by censoring the media.

“Nigerians know that the APC has failed and that the Buhari-led Presidency is directly responsible for the collapse of our economy, which was thriving under the PDP.

“They know that the torrents started buffeting the nation from May 29, 2015, and no amount of propaganda and futile efforts to censor the media by the APC will change the facts,” Ologbondiyan said.

The statement read further: “While we note the minister’s snap that the media should contextualise their reporting, we ask; how else should the media contextualise the sudden collapse of the economy with the naira tumbling from N197/ 1USD in 2015 when PDP handed over power, to N360-N400/ 1USD, without placing the blame at the doorsteps of President Muhammadu Buhari and his dysfunctional APC?

“How else should the media contextualise the fact that under the Buhari Government, over 8 million Nigerians lost their jobs between 2016 to 2017; 16 million were unemployed, 18 million more were underemployed, while another 27.44 million refused to work in 2016 for various reasons related to frustration in the polity?”

The PDP further reiterated that the government should accept its failures and seek help from well-meaning Nigerians.

Macron Boots French Media From Presidential Press Room

Macron 'Happy' Merkel Coalition Deal In Sight
File: French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at the Elysee Palace in Paris,                IMAGE:LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

The French presidency announced Wednesday that it is kicking reporters out of the Elysee Palace and down the street in a move that symbolises Emmanuel Macron’s desire to keep the media at arm’s length.

Reporters have had a press room inside the Elysee for the past four decades from which to cover press conferences, foreign leaders’ visits and other events.

AFP and other news agencies have permanent desks there, notably allowing them to see who is arriving for meetings with the president thanks to the press room’s location overlooking the main courtyard.

But Macron’s communications advisor Sibeth Ndiaye told reporters the presidency had decided to move the press room into an annexe down the street “in order to make it bigger”.

The move will take place by the summer, she said.

Asked if Macron was trying to “get the press out of the way”, Ndiaye said that was “not the president’s intention”.

Macron had made no secret of his desire to see journalists booted from the main Elysee building when he was elected in May, but the idea was put on the backburner after it prompted an uproar from the media.

The current press room will become a meeting room for presidential advisors, Ndiaye said, insisting the decision was made for “practical reasons”.

The move is the latest of a string of signs from Macron that he intends to keep a much tighter leash on the media than his gossip-loving predecessor Francois Hollande.

Hollande regularly chatted to reporters off-the-record and was ultimately damaged by a tell-all book, “A President Shouldn’t Say That”, published at the end of his term based on his conversations with two political journalists.

Macron gave a nearly two-hour briefing to reporters on a range of issues on Tuesday night, but press access to the president has so far been tightly controlled.

He drew mockery early in his presidency for comparing his job to that of the Roman king of the gods Jupiter, staying above the fray of daily politics and giving few interviews.

Centre-right president Valery Giscard d’Estaing, in power from 1974 to 1981, was the first to allow journalists an office at the Elysee.

His Socialist successor Francois Mitterrand moved it to its current location on the courtyard, where journalists can watch the comings and goings, in order to boost transparency.

AFP

Republican Senator Slams Trump For Stalin-Like Attacks On Media

We Want Immigrants 'From Everywhere' To Come To US - Trump
US President Donald Trump
NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

A maverick senator from Donald Trump’s own Republican party launched a stinging attack on the president on Wednesday, accusing him of employing Stalinist language to attack and undermine the free press.

Arizona lawmaker Jeff Flake levelled the broadside in an address from the Senate floor, timed to coincide with the expected announcement of controversial “Fake News Awards” by Trump’s administration.

Flake — an outspoken critic of the president who is not seeking re-election this year — hit out at what he called Trump’s disregard for the truth, and his repeated designation of the news media as an “enemy.”

“The ‘enemy of the people’ was how the president of the United States called the free press in 2017,” Flake told lawmakers.

“Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies,” he said.

“So fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use.”

Flake accused Trump’s White House of a “daily assault” on the constitutionally protected right to free speech, calling it “as unprecedented as it is unwarranted.”

And he accused Trump of committing “moral vandalism” against the truth, from his longtime questioning of Barack Obama’s birth certificate to his dismissal of Russian meddling in the 2016 election as a “hoax” — and warned he was emboldening authoritarian regimes around the world to persecute the press.

“2017 was a year which saw the truth — objective, empirical, evidence-based truth more battered and abused than any time in the history of our country, at the hands of the biggest figure in our government,” Flake said.

“Without truth and a principled fidelity to truth and to shared facts, Mr President, our democracy will not last,” he warned.

Trump tweeted last week that he would be awarding “Fake News Awards” to the “most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media” this Wednesday — but the White House has remained evasive on whether the controversial event, already once delayed, would take place.

AFP

Obama Warns Of Social Media Dangers, In Interview With Prince Harry

Former US President Barack Obama told Britain’s Prince Harry he was concerned social media was “corroding civil discourse”, in what he said was his first interview since leaving the White House, aired Wednesday.

“One of the dangers of the internet is that people can have entirely different realities,” he told the prince, who was guest editing BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“They can be cocooned in information that reinforces their current biases. Things aren’t as simple as they’ve been portrayed in whatever chat room you’ve been in,” he added.

“The question has to do with how do we harness this technology in a way that allows a multiplicity of voices, allows a diversity of views, but doesn’t lead to a Balkanisation of society and allows ways of finding common ground.”

The interview was recorded in Toronto, Canada, in September on the sidelines of the Invictus Games, the athletic tournament created by Harry for wounded former soldiers.

Despite admitting concern over the future of the US, Obama, who did not mention his successor Donald Trump by name, said he felt a sense of “serenity” on leaving the White House.

“There was a sense that we had run a good race,” he added.

On his new routine, Obama told the prince: “I wake up later, it’s wonderful to be able to control your day.”

The prince opened the discussion by saying: “This is the first interview you’ve said ‘yes’ to doing since you handed over the reins”, to which Obama replied: “that’s true”.

Harry is due to marry his US actress girlfriend Megan Markle on May 19 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle near London.

According to British press reports, civil servants are concerned that a wedding invite from the couple to Obama could cause a further rift between Britain and Trump following a series of high-profile spats.

AFP

65 Journalists, Media Workers Killed Globally In 2017

Sixty-five journalists and media workers were killed worldwide in 2017, according to annual figures published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday.

Among them were 50 professional reporters, the lowest toll in 14 years. However, the downward trend is due at least in part to journalists giving up working in the world’s deadliest spots.

War-torn Syria remains the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, RSF said, with 12 reporters killed, followed by Mexico where 11 were assassinated.

They included Javier Valdez, one of the most prominent chroniclers of Mexico’s deadly drug war, whose murder in May sparked a public outcry.

The 50-year-old AFP contributor was shot dead in broad daylight in the street in the violent northwestern state of Sinaloa.

His last book, “Narco-journalism”, recounted the tribulations of Mexican reporters who try to cover the country’s extremely violent “narcos” drug cartels.

RSF said Mexico was the deadliest country not at war, saying those who “cover political corruption or organised crime are often systemically targeted, threatened and gunned down.”

– ‘Alarming comments’ –

The Philippines has become Asia’s most dangerous country for reporters, with at least five journalists being shot in the last year, four of whom died of their injuries.

The rise comes after what RSF called an “alarming comment” by President Rodrigo Duterte who said in May that “just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch.”

No journalists were killed in the country the previous year.

The overall number of professional reporters slain worldwide, however, fell to its lowest number in 14 years, RSF said.

Of the 65 killed, the report said 39 were murdered, while the rest died in the line of duty — collateral victims of deadly circumstances likes air strikes or suicide bombings.

The group said that the drop in the death rate may be because journalists were now being better trained and protected for war zones.

“The downward trend is also due to journalists abandoning countries that have become too dangerous,” it added.

“Countries such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya have been haemorrhaging journalists.” But the trend is not confined to countries at war, RSF added.

– Turkey jails most journalists –

“Many journalists have either fled abroad or abandoned journalism in Mexico, where the criminal cartels and local politicians have imposed a reign of terror,” it said.

Turkey is the world’s biggest prison for professional journalists, the figures show, with 42 reporters and one media worker behind bars.

“Criticising the government, working for a ‘suspect’ media outlet, contacting a sensitive source or even just using an encrypted messaging service all constitute grounds for jailing journalists on terrorism charges,” the report said.

With 52 languishing in jail, China, however, continues to lead the table when bloggers are taken into account.

RSF accused Beijing of toughening its “arsenal of measures for persecuting journalists and bloggers.

“The government no longer sentences its opponents to death but instead deliberately lets their health deteriorate in prison until they die,” it added, referring to the deaths of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and dissident blogger Yang Tongyan, who both died of cancer this year after being diagnosed in prison.

Syria (24), Iran (23) and Vietnam (19) were the other top five jailers of journalists.

AFP

Osinbajo Challenges Media To Be More Vigorous

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has challenged media professionals to be more efficient in carrying out their duties in order to help in effectively tackling the issues the country is being faced with.

While he commended the media for having played a good role so far in aiding democracy and holding public officers accountable among other things, he pointed out specific areas which he believes the media needs to ‘up its game’.

“Our press is and has always been one of the most vibrant in the world. I don’t think there is any doubt about that.

“Nigerians have always been people that love to talk and to express themselves and foreigners routinely mistake our random good-natured Nigerian conversations for bitter quarreling sometimes, on account of the stridency with which our argument sometimes are assembled and dismantled.

“So you can always take it for granted that no matter the intensity of the clampdown on press freedom in Nigeria, there will always be a prominent group of journalists, who will refuse to be cowed, who will seize every tool at their disposal to hold the authorities to account – and this will be as true a century from today as it was in the 1990’s,” he said.

Osinbajo made this known during a media chat on Saturday, at the 50th birthday celebration of a foremost journalist, Kadaria Ahmed.

Speaking further, he, however, noted that the media is particularly lacking in the area of archiving, noting that the ability to properly put into perspective issues from the past will aid the ability to provide solutions for present and future problems.

He, therefore, blamed the absence of sufficient archives on an absence of vision on the part of media professionals and urged them to return to basic principles guarding the media.

“You may not be able to blame financial challenges on the absence of archives. If anything, the blame should rest squarely on an absence of vision or a lack of understanding of the media’s role in the society. I think that we need to be more visionary about these things.

“But even more interesting is that perhaps some of the challenges that the media is confronted with could be solved by a return to basic principles to rediscovering and understanding our place in society.

“And I happen to think that a number of Nigerians, not to talk of foreigners, researchers, analysts, would even pay a premium for properly organized newspaper or TV or radio archives, dating back at least a few decades.”

The Vice President also took cognizance of the role the social media plays in driving change in society and called on influencers across the country to lend their voices to causes of great national importance.

“Social media in many cases is almost flaky in its response to those things – Yes there is a little bit of concern and the next moment, that’s gone off and there’s some other flavour.

“I think that influencers and the press in Nigeria, owe a special responsibility to this nation because the nature of our issues are peculiar and these issues are cross-cutting, they are fundamental, and we must face them and deal with them,” he stated.

Blast Rocks Chinese Port City, Dozens Hurt – Media

A major explosion hit China’s eastern port city of Ningbo on Sunday, sending dozens to hospitals, destroying vehicles, and triggering the collapse of nearby buildings, state media said, citing local authorities.

The morning blast occured in a factory, according to the official Xinhua news agency, but state television said it took place at a demolition site.

Television images showed cars twisted and mangled by the force of the explosion, a plume of grey smoke rising in the sky, and debris scattered for dozens of metres around the site of the incident.

Footage showed rescuers wearing helmets carrying injured people away from the area, while others stood over a person lying on the ground.

According to CCTV, eyewitnesses said there were “a large number of injured people” in the city, one of China’s largest ports, which sits just south of Shanghai.

At least 30 people were taken to the local hospital and rescue efforts were continuing, the report said.

The Communist Party’s People’s Daily said on Twitter that no one lived at site of the explosion but garbage collectors might have been working there.

An enquiry has been launched to determine the cause of the explosion, the local police in Jiangbei district, where the blast happened, said on social media.

Industrial accidents are common in China, where safety standards are often lax.

In 2015, giant blasts killed at least 165 people in the northern port city of Tianjin, causing over $1 billion in damage and sparking widespread anger over a perceived lack of transparency by officials about the accident’s causes and environmental impact.

A government inquiry into the Tianjin accident released in February 2016 recommended 123 people be punished.

The official who was mayor at the time of the accident was sentenced to 12 years in prison for graft in September.

Huang Xingguo, 62, had also headed the disaster response committee.

Trump Attacks Media After Nuke Report

Trump SPENCER PLATT / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

US President Donald Trump tore into the press and questioned whether broadcasters should have their licenses revoked Wednesday, after an unflattering story about his nuclear policy.

“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write, and people should want to look into it,” Trump fumed as he met his Canadian counterpart in the Oval Office.

But the president — who has a history of being combative with the media — said he did not want to see formal restrictions.

“No. The press should speak more honestly, I mean, I’ve seen tremendously dishonest press. It’s not even a question of distortion.”

Trump was angered after NBC News reported he had asked to dramatically increase in America’s nuclear stockpile, calling it “made up.”

His secretary of defense backed him publicly.

“Recent reports that the president called for an increase in the US nuclear arsenal are absolutely false,” Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said in a statement.

“This kind of erroneous reporting is irresponsible.”

The US television network reported that Trump told generals and security aides over the summer that he wanted a “nearly tenfold increase” in the US nuclear arsenal.

“With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!” Trump tweeted.

The US Constitution is understood to guarantee press freedom, but television networks rely on access to broadcast frequencies granted by government agencies.

Citing three officials who were in the room, NBC said Trump’s response came when he was shown a slide showing the steady reduction of nukes since the 1960s.

After the briefing, the secretary of state is alleged to have called Trump a “moron,” although Rex Tillerson’s spokeswoman has denied that allegation.

Trump denied requesting more weapons. “I never discussed increasing it. I want it in perfect shape. That was fake news,” he said.

Such a move would abrogate key international arms control treaties and upend decades of non-proliferation policy, with deep ramifications across the globe.

“Right now, we have so many nuclear weapons I want them in perfect condition, perfect shape. That’s the only thing I have discussed,” Trump said.

As president and candidate, Trump has often mused aloud about America’s nuclear weapons power, saying there is no point in having them if you do not use them.

IPOB Proscription: Shehu Defends FG, Says Group Not Interested In Dialogue

IPOB Proscription: Shehu Defends FG, Says Group Not Interested In Dialogue

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, has supported the proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra by the Federal Government.

This followed the approval of the application filed by the government at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, seeking to proscribe the group.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, had told State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting that IPOB’s proscription was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari before he travelled for the 72 United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Shehu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, said government had closely monitored the activities of the group and its inability to embrace dialogue.

“We looked at this organisation, we analysed it, and it fits the description of a terrorist organisation,” he said. “If it fits the description of a terrorist organisation, then it is a terrorist organisation.”

READ ALSO: Federal High Court Proscribes IPOB

Although the presidential aide admitted that the military by its earlier declaration alerted Nigerians of their own analysis, he, however, revealed the Federal Government was bound to follow up “some processes.”

“That yes, it fits in and as Americans say, ‘If it walks like a duck, it moves like a duck, it looks like a duck, then it is a duck.’

“Therefore, that is it. That is their own description of it. So, the processes we are bound to follow since they are fully aware of the fact that from the point of view of the law, they cannot do what the law does not empower them to do.”

Shehu further explained that IPOB leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, had earlier aborted peace moves made by the governors of the five eastern states headed by Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, as well as senators from the region.

He said, “IPOB itself has clearly indicated that they are not interested in dialogue. You know that in the run-up of these processes, the governors of the states in the region had put up a forum, IPOB said, ‘No, thank you, we are not interested.’

“The Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria set up a delegation and they said, ‘IPOB we want to speak to you,’ and they said, ‘no, thank you’. Initially yes, it is clear that the leader had himself shut everyone out of the whole process,” he said.

Al-Makura Tasks Media On Professionalism

Al-Makura Commits To Peaceful Coexistence In Nasarawa
Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura

The Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-makura, has asked media outfits in the state to uphold the ethics guiding the profession.

The governor made the appeal when he presented two vehicles to Radio Nigeria, Precious FM, Lafia.

He said the gesture was a way of recognizing the professionalism of the radio station and its respect for the codes and ethics of journalism.

Aside the donation, he averred that he would soon embark on the construction of access road to the radio station in order to ease their hardship.

“As a matter of fact, I am doing this because one, it is a federal outfit and we are all part of the federation and a situation where they are having some challenges, we at the state level should come handy to support them. Two, am giving this vehicle given their timely, professional and efficient discharge of their responsibilities and they have been a station that has stood out amongst all their peers within the zone”

Appreciating the gesture, the General Manager, Musa Abdullahi opined that the action of the governor will renew the vigour of his staff to be focused on programmes that are in tandem with his agenda.

“We thank you for this, I assure you that we will not dissapoint you,” he said.

Aregbesola Stresses Need To Educate Nigerians On Recession

Argebesola Stresses Need To Educate Nigerians On RecessionGovernor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, has tasked radio stations on the urgent need to use their platforms to educate Nigerians on the implications of the economic recession in the country.

Aregbesola specifically said radio broadcasters have great roles to play in doing this as well as promoting the peace of the society by discouraging hate messages and promoting those that enhance communal peace and stability.

The Governor stated this at the official commissioning of Oodua FM, established by a former member of the House of Representatives and an actor, Mr Rotimi Makinde in Ile-Ife over the weekend.

He said the disturbing war carnage scenes beamed into homes daily by foreign channels should be enough lesson for all, that promoting hate messages is inimical to peace.

He then asked journalists to dedicate themselves to peace and do away with divisive issues in discharging their duties.

Aregbesola said radio stations must at this time of hardship do all they can to support the government’s efforts in promoting innovative and technology-based ideas to move the nation forward.

In his words, “my advice for the owner and the entire management of this station is to use the medium wisely to promote peaceful coexistence among the people in Yoruba land and Nigeria as a whole.

“Please do not politicise your activities at this radio station. Let this establishment be for the promotion of the highest values and ethos of Yoruba people.

“Strive to let this station be for the promotion of peace, harmony, love and affection among Nigerians especially Yoruba people.

“Shun any divisive tendency and use this station for educational purpose. Use it to promote our culture and balanced entertainment.

“Also, use this station to promote industry, productivity and efficiency as these, would go a long way in rescuing our society from the current recession we are all in.

The governor furthermore, condemned in its entirety the manner in which some broadcast media houses have been bastardizing the profession on self-serving interests.

He stressed that if not that his government’s programs and policies resonated with the people, one of the osun-based radio stations whose name he chose not to mention, would have thrown the state into confusion through its hate messages.

“The time has come for journalists to be at the forefront of nation building and do away with subjectivity, favoritism and personal emotions,” Aregbesola said.