ISSUES OF THE PAST, STILL IN THE PRESENT. By Janet Jiya (Caleb University Imota, Lagos) The role Nigeria economy and government has played in affecting the media and has been rather substantial. This is due to proper organization and efficient collaboration of the journalists through the Nigeria union of journalism. Though there have been sporadic cases of threats and killings which maybe have affected the true substance of news delivered, but these have been rather sporadic. The reason behind this non interference or dilution of news by the government or powers that be, can be attributed to the practice of democracy. Dated back to the military eras we know how journalists were persecuted for saying truths. (Ken Saro Wiwa is still a very good memory) and how news were made. so because everybody was aware of how biased the source was. Then the media didn’t have total freedom of speech because they always take permission from the government before publishing. The government only saw the media as their mouth piece and not the public voice or room for interaction between them and the public. Unfortunately we seem to be heading to that hostile environment of journalism not because we are heading back to military dictatorship but because of an emergence of new power and the annoyingly insecure our country is. The new power is of course the BOKO HARAM. The BOKO HARAM group has been terrorizing the country as of late with incessant bombings in the North, destroying properties and killing innocent individuals. This of course has been a fertile ground for journalists to tap into and bring out news on why all these are happening. However on 23rd of April the offices Thisday newspaper was destroyed, offices in Kaduna and Abuja were involved. Lives were lost and allot were injured. The BOKO HARAM group came out to claim responsibility for the bombing, claiming the paper has been printing false news concerning them and they have been taking sides with the government. My only worry and question is this, what happens to journalism now and the media in general, if the safety of lives cannot be guaranteed especially in a lawless and insecure country as ours? What's the fate of quality of news and unbiased reports? Won't the fear of the unknown kill our journalism? Because nobody knows who's next. The safest and logical thing to do is to keep one's head and that by bringing out biased reports and news favoring the powers that be- BOKO HARAM. Of surety now, journalism in Nigeria is being affected by the insecure state of the country as we citizens are also affected by the media lack of ethics in news gathering.
That is one of the harzards of the profession. It is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is same risk all over the world. That is the more reason why Nigerian Journalists must insists on life assurance policy in their different organisations.