6 years ago | 33
| By Anayo Ezugwu |
THE media in Nigeria had mixed fortunes in 2015. The year started with the media playing a vital role in the 2015 general elections as they were in the forefront of dissemination of information about the polls. They collaborated effectively with stakeholders in the electoral process, captured activities leading to the elections through well researched editorials, feature articles, special interviews, coverage of political campaigns and rallies.
The media were rated high in their overall role in educating, informing and agenda setting for parties and candidates. They effectively mobilised electorate for full participation in the processes.
But bad fortune hit the industry when two bloggers were arrested for publishing fake stories on their websites.
Chris Kehinde Uwandu and Seun Oloketuyi, publisher of Naijahottestgist.com were arrested by the Department of the State Services, DSS, for publishing false story against Nnamdi Okonkwo, managing director, Fidelity Bank Plc. While Oloketuyi was arrested for publishing the story on his website, Uwandu was arrested for publishing it on his Facebook page.
On September 25, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, lost one of its own at the stampede that happened in Mecca. Bilikisu Yusuf, veteran journalist and civil rights activist, died as a result of the stampede among pilgrims in Mecca. The NGE also lost Malam Saleh Mahdi its former vice-president.
Mahdi was a staff of the Borno State Radio and Television, Maiduguri. He was vice president (North) of the NGE between 2004 and 2005 and was later elected as a member of the Standing Committee in Bauchi, in December 2005. He was re-elected to the position in 2006 for another two years. His last outing with the Guild was at its 2013 Convention in Ibadan.
In 2015, the bad economy affected the media industry adversely. Consequently, many media houses owed staff salary ranging from five to 18 months. Available information showed that ThisDay Newspaper is owing over nine months arrears, African Independent Television, AIT, months, Daily Independent Newspaper nine months, TELL Magazine owe eight months, National Mirror seven months, Newswatch (Daily Newswatch) seven months, The NEWS Magazine nine months, the PM News nine months, Daily Champion Newspaper 18 months, Hallmark Newspaper eight months and the Daily Times Newspaper six months.
Apart from the media houses owing its staff, The News Magazine in July stopped printing its magazine. According to the company, the magazine had transformed into online newspaper after falling advertising revenues. The magazine now printed monthly, while resources are channelled into feeding its online platform with fresh stories and breaking news.
The transition to online media came barely three weeks after the magazine’s sister? publication and evening newspaper, PM News?,? ended its print run. On the other hand, Daily Independent had been out of circulation for more than three months with the staff and the Nigerian Union of Journalists calling for the sack of its managing director. The Union newspaper also owes but it’s not clear the number of months they owe staff. But the newspaper had suspended its daily publication for more than one month now.
The sad story of non-payment of salary of journalists took a turn for the worse when it was revealed that many of the media houses which owe workers got a whopping amount of money from Sambo Dasuki, national security adviser who is being accused of laundering government money but could not remit part of the funds to clear arrears of unpaid salary.
But it was not all that bad in the media in the year. On November 19, Realnews magazine held its Third Anniversary with the theme: “It’s the Nigerian Economy, Stupid” in Victoria Island, Lagos. Professor Chukwuma Charles Soludo who delivered the lecture altered the titled to “Can A New Buharinomics Change Nigeria?” The lecture which was a huge success was widely reported in the national dailies and the ideas he propounded is still reverberating in the economic policy making sectors of the country.
Realnews also unveiled the second volume of its book: “Paragon of Journalism”. The event attracted many dignitaries across all walks of life.
Apart from this, the newsstands across the country on October 1, witnessed the arrival of The Authority Newspaper. The newspaper published by Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, chairman of Capital Oil and Gas Industries Ltd, has offices in Abuja, Lagos and Akwa, and since it hit newsstands nationwide it has maintained a steady circulation.
Another good news in the media sector is the inauguration of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, on Thursday, October 22, in Lagos. The GOCOP is a non-governmental, non-partisan, non profit making organisation for the highest strata of working journalists who have attained the exalted position of editors in the journalism profession and have delved into online publishing. The primary objective of the organisation is to ensure that online publishers uphold the tenets of journalism and provide a platform for peer review.
— Jan 4, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT
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