RELIGION : IS THE MEDIA REALLY HELPING?
Under number 6 of the Code of ETHICS for Journalists(DISCRIMINATION) , as put together by the NIGERIAN PRESS COUNCIL, it is stated that :
” A journalist should refrain from making pejorative
reference to a person’s ethnic group, religion, sex or
to any physical or mental illness or handicap.”
In this provision, PEJORATIVE should clearly be understood. In a simple term , it means DEROGATORY STATEMENTS.
It pains me anytime I read analyses of some reporters on sensitive religious matters. The most painful thing is that these reporters hastily generalise what should never be generalised in their reportage. Many of them do this with a view to desperately selling their papers and achieving some hidden agendas known to them and their proprietors.
I have always been saying that it is a logical and cerebral error for a reporter to tag a religion devilish just because an adherent of that faith behaves like a devil. My proposition has always been : ” If Abubakar commits a punishable crime, he should be punished as a personality, NOT HIS RELIGION. Also, the religion of JOHN should not come into place if John commits a crime that is against humanity. It will be a double standard if the former’s religion is pronounced and the latter’s faith is silenced when the same gravity of crime is committed by the duo. ”
To be sincere with ourselves, the media, most times, behave like ‘gunless’ terrorists. A terrorist create terror and fear in the minds of people. The media too do this in their religious reportage, probably due to laziness, hatred, impatience, ignorance and eagerness to be the first to report a news item . They forget that it is a crime in journalism to always misinform the public on not only religion issues, but also every matter. Here are some instances for analyses :
1. When Ricky Daniel (from Edo) stowed away on Arik Air-line from Edo to Lagos unknown to any of its crew members , the 11 year old boy was praised by many media houses in this country . He was even given an award by a group for ‘bravery.’ What would have happened if Daniel were to be a Mukhtar? Would he have escaped the ‘swordy’ pens of the media? Wouldn’t the media have put his religion into consideration ?
2. Of recent, there have been different stories on the alleged abduction of Eze Oruru by one Yinusa . Let us assume the story or stories were true as reported , does that give the media a moral and ethical justifications to tag Yinusa’s crime with his faith? Is the media doing this hug-wash because Eze is or was a non-muslim? What a person does, at times, doesn’t correspond with his faith. Reverend King was found guilty of killing his church members. A lady even said she served him naked most times. Does that make his faith a religion that condoles murder and nudity? One Prophet Idowu Oluawaseyi was arrested in Lagos for impregnating two sisters. Are we now to say Idowu’s faith commands him to sleep with two sisters? Isn’t that a common theory of logic?
3. During the 2015 Hajj when a crane collapsed in the Grand Mosque in Macca, some newspapers went ahead and coined sentimental headlines on the tragedy. One of them reeds : DOZENS KILLED IN MECCA CRANE ACCIDENT. Killed by who? By the Saudi authority? Isn’t DEAD or DIED more preferable? When T. B. JOSHUA’s synagogue collapsed, none of these media linked the casualty to the faith of Pastor Joshua directly or through their journalistic diction.
The list is a continuum, but I will like to stop here for now. My major point is that JOURNALISTS SHOULD BE PROFESSIONALS IN HANDLING RELIGIOUS MATTERS IF INDEED (THEY) WANT TO BE THE REAL FOURTH ESTATE OF THE REALM. FORGET HATING A SET OF PEOPLE OR THEIR FAITHS ; JUST REPORT THE WAY ISSUES ARE!
© AJETUNMOBI UMAR OLANSILE (March 3rd, 2015 : 10:25pm).