I remember being told that News meant North, East, West, and South by my elder cousin, apparently that was false. As I grew older I discovered that News literally means a piece of received noteworthy information particularly about recent events and the alphabets that make up the word may just have been a coincidence. Growing up, my late father loved watching the news, no one dared change the TV station during the network news program. There is this stereotype about northern Nigerians always listening to the news on their radios. I guess my dad picked up that skill during his stay in the Northern part of Nigeria. Finally, the newspaper vendors rushed to knock on our door to sell the popular Punch Newspaper and Vanguard as he was their regular customer.
At a tender age, I vividly remember watching and discussing the news with my late Dad, we could argue Nigerian and World politics for hours. It helped shape my mindset in terms of being analytical with new information. Back in the days’ News channels were objective in the presentation of news be it local or international. The TV companies were in line with the tenets of Journalism which were accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability.
What do we have today? Misinformation everywhere. It could be raining in Lagos today on Channel A and Sunny on Channel B. Yes, I know it has a lot to do with the advance of technology where news is not verified before being posted on the internet or circulated on social media. I also believe that journalists should do their due diligence in verifying the truth to the best of their ability before it is put out to the public. Politicians have bought over news agencies so as to control the narrative. This is not just particular to Nigeria but the whole world. Sometimes you watch the news and you can tell that the information is incomplete, it’s like they are playing with our intelligence.
International news channels are also culprits, they portray the news with so many biases. I recall watching Al Jazeera an international new outlet based in Qatar, and a news anchor who was interviewing someone as regards the ongoing crisis in Ukraine said and I quote “These are prosperous, middle-class people, not obviously refugees trying to get away from the Middle East”. Further down the line, he implied that it was difficult to call the Ukrainians refugees, that moment, I thought to myself, are refugees only Africans and Middle Eastern people?? He was creating a wrong narrative to his audience that you can’t be white and be a refugee which was wrong because been a refugee is not defined by the colour of your skin.
In the US, We have TV stations drawn across the political line. We have those who suppress the negatives of the Democrats and magnify the little good while the others vice versa for the Republicans. How am I supposed to take either of them seriously?
To be continued,