By Adeolu Akindele
I know this piece will offend the all so powerful press or media in Nigeria. Nevertheless, I challenge them to dare to be courageous, honest or objective enough to publish this material. It is all about the ongoing ceaseless media attacks on the Nigerian military. I am so certain that the move against the military by a section of the aggrieved Nigerian press is going to do no one any good.
Apparently meant to be retaliation for the so called two day “clamp down” on the press, the deafening noise being made by an otherwise sober media has proved so malicious, mischievous and self-serving. With the way they write anything they believe would provoke or embarrass the military and well-meaning Nigerians especially since 7 June 2014, it is clear that the media is unrepentantly set on the path of self-destruction in their pursuit of vendetta against the government and the military. Yet, like the tick that keeps to the path of gluttony in its determination to suck the dog to death, the media has remained adamant. The foolish tick kept feasting on the dog’s blood until it bursted and died!
The Nigerian media has consciously or unconsciously thrown its weights behind the terrorists fighting the Nigerian military. What else can one make of the series of stories meant to proclaim the prowess and invincibility of the terrorists who without any doubt are the most visible enemies of Nigerians today. In the same token, they (the Nigerian media) has demonstrated extra ordinary commitment to running down the military with often exaggerated or outright false reports alleging or presenting the military as weak, incapable, corrupt, clueless, defeated and incapable of defeating the terrorists. They have employed all possible adjective and description intended to ridicule and embarrass the military first, then the government and by extension, all who wish Nigeria well.
Bent on proclaiming or proving the belief that the “pen is mightier than the sword”, the Nigerian media has become so reckless in the belief that no authority can call it to order. What do you expect of a pack of people who are not professionals by any reasonable description. The media in Nigeria has always delighted in checking, challenging, criticizing, correcting, vilifying and insisting on regulating all other institutions, professions and government, but would not tolerate any attempt to make it or its members see reason especially when business or selfish interests appears threatened. They are quick to invoke and defend the nebulous ideologies on free speech, freedom of the press, defenders of democracy, fight against military regimes etc etc.
What they now refer to as “Clampdown” is the outcome of efforts to subject them (the media) to checks or search which all other Nigerians have been going through and enduring with due understanding of the whole situation as a necessity in the nation’s fight against terrorism. After all, inconveniences are common experience anywhere terrorism is being combatted worldwide. They media decided to turn the whole story round with lies of all sorts to scandalize the military and government and courting public sympathy.
It is well known that some particular media outfits and their online accomplices make no pretentions about their sympathy or support for the terrorists in Nigeria. What would stop such compromised media outfits from submitting their channels or being used to move items for Boko Haram whose exploits they have continued to celebrate in their reportage? Unfortunately, other unsuspecting media organisations are sheepishly joining these renegade media outfits to resist the search without knowing what they are up to. All the noise is with a view to intimidating the military and security agencies to stop the checks. The military and others must not give in at all.
A particular newspaper based in Abuja has never hidden its identity as an apologist and supporter of Boko Haram. Perhaps it has a good reason considering that the ownership and sponsorship profile of the organisation features confirmed terrorists promoters known even outside the shores of Nigeria where these individuals have been under surveillance. Unknown to many, this paper has used the opportunity of the so called clampdown to mobilise the vibrant-for-nothing Lagos press who naively believe they are fighting a just cause, on the assumption they are promoting media solidarity by teaming up with these unrepentant terrorists sympathisers by attacking the nation’s most solid and reliable security asset; the military which has remained consistent in the forefront of the fight against terrorism. What we now have is clearly orchestrated media terrorism in the form of campaign to discredit the military. The constant insults, abuses and ceaseless attack
on the military leadership is ultimately aimed at grounding Nigeria. This wicked gang up of terrorists with the media against the army and the nation must not win or succeed.
Well-meaning Nigerians must not be hoodwinked by the notion that the media cannot be called to order. Terrorists are already exploiting this belief to their advantage. Every Nigerian must beware. The media is in a gang up with terrorists and they must be called to order without any fear. The blackmail must stop.
Thank God, the information gateway is expanding. The traditional media which crisis entrepreneurs and their ilk always rely on is fast giving way to social media and citizens journalism. Everyone can now find out the truth on his own and express himself without being swayed by irresponsible agitation in the name of campaign for free speech or press freedom.
Indeed, a group of charlatans whose undertakings or means of livelihood has not even qualified to be called a profession should not continue to freely intimidate everybody to submit to terror. This belief that the media is untouchable even when engaging in outright terrorism against the rest of us must not be condoned or taken for granted. The Nigerian media must choose which side of the divide it belongs: Are they with the terrorists or with the Nigerian people? This is the time to say NO to media terrorism!