Nigerian Media Most Strongest, Courageous In Africa -Prof. Wole Soyinka

…Some Have Sold Out -Victor Attah

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Nigerian Playwright and Political Activist, Prof. Wole Soyinka has described Nigerian Media as the strongest and most courageous in the whole of African Continent.

Soyinka who made the assertion in a Goodwill Message at the 3rd Anniversary Lecture and Book Presentation of the NaijaTimes on Thursday in Abuja, saluted the doggedness of the Nigerian Media in rising to the task of keeping the state on its toes.

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“We’ve seen the quality of its products, of its services during dire times of dictatorships. Even now, when we’re supposed to be running a democracy, we’ve seen how journalism rises to the task of keeping the state on its toes”, he said.

The Nobel Prize Winner who tasked the journalists not to only probe the state, but the society itself, said, sometimes, society itself has to be taken to task rigorously and ruthlessly.

He agreed that dealing with the state makes the journalists obvious targets, however, he said, the state stands to save or ruin the society, therefore, the challenge has got to be taken up and accepted, otherwise, society then slides completely into an inescapable morass from which there is no escape.

“Journalism really must tread new grounds, break new grounds completely, and really confront society with what it has become no matter in which sector of productive society”, he added.

Meanwhile, the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah said, Nigeria is in dire need of improvement, “and it’s only journalists that can get forward by telling all the things that are going wrong and giving the warning signals. And nobody should interfere with their work”.

He, however, claimed that some journalists have sold out, consequently, have become worse than politicians.

“Performance of journalists? you have suffered. You’ve tried. You’ve done well. But some of you have sold out. I mean, we have to be honest with ourselves. The way they sing praises without reasoning and so on. Some of you have become worse than politicians.

“So you have to be a bit more careful about the ethics of your profession. And don’t be carried away by whatever considerations, particularly material considerations, other than societal concerns. You must be more particular about societal concerns”, he said.

In a swift reaction, the General Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Iyoboda Uwugiaren said, the Nigerian press still remains one of the most professional institutions in Nigeria.

Uwugiaren noted that “over time, the media has had to come under intense scrutiny to ensure the integrity of the Nigerian press. Have we sold out? I think the Nigerian press still remains one of the most professional institutions in Nigeria. It still remains one of the most authentic institutions in Nigeria.

“I am sure if you trace the history of Nigeria’s mass media, you will know the role they played. The role they played in the struggle for independence and the role they played in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria. And the role they also currently play in sustaining our democracy in the country.

“I think they still remain, in terms of strong institutions in Nigeria, the media still remain the best. But like every other institution, we also have challenges.

“Today we are talking about how to sustain the media in the midst of global economic challenges. So we are part of that problem. And we are also looking for ways to sustain the project. In terms of its constitutional responsibility role, and that of holding government accountable to the issues. Like, you listen to Professor Mwoloshenka when he was giving a goodwill message. He believes that the media still remains the best, in terms of discharging its own constitutional responsibility in Nigeria. That of holding the government accountable.

“So we still remain the best, but that does not mean that we don’t have our challenges. So, we have not sold out. Like every other profession, we also have our challenges. We also have to pass on bad eggs. But in all, I think we have not sold out. We are still doing our job the way we should be doing it”, he said.




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