Date Published: 12/05/10
Fascist Journalism by M A C Odu
A sad development has been observed in the field of journalism in Nigeria. That sad development is the blossoming of fascist journalism. Quintessential journalism rests on robust social responsibility. Journalism is a field of endeavour suited only for diehard believers in truth, and implacable zest to unearth all truth that underlies all genuine progress. The understanding that what is false will eventually collapse makes it unattractive for true journalism to compromise truth. Journalism is a field for those who do not necessarily desire public acclaim. They earn it while alive or dead in the shoring they give their public good. Some end up writing and leaving an indelible record of how to stay on the side of what is real all through one’s productive life. Those that pass on in search of truth find fulfilment eternally as heroes of the people and light spirits for higher calling beyond our plane.
A few governors who are new to democratic principles delude themselves of their personal grandeur and hug publicly owned electronic and print media exclusively consigning the electorate into imponderable misinformation. One wonders what lines the weak mental faculties of fake leaders are able to draw between what is personal to them and what is common asset of all in a state. They prance around as if the space of the state belongs to them exclusively. Their megalomania is complete when notable fools at being offered an unearned share of state resources speak their verbiage in extolment of their achievements where none really exists to celebrate. The people appear fooled and not a few fools believe that the tail indeed wags the dog. Often times the governors have issues to hide from public awareness. They overspend on buying seeming support from state resources and fall foul of myriads of other responsibilities. Their states fall languid in welfare as they pretend that they have done so much. They reach back into history to seek who to blame. In the case of Imo State a decade of misadventure similar to the extant one is dug up as distraction and as material for political combat. Obscurantism results from gaps between the seeming and the real. What is on the ground most times vary from what is said to be on the ground. Hitler and Goebel his propagandist, pale into insignificance beside these pedigree-less Lilliputians who arrived portals of power through devil’s tunnels.
This condition is a sad commentary on leadership understanding of democratic principles. It has its watershed in quality of people on the corridors of power. For some it is like being vested with a fiefdom from which they may expropriate as much resources and power as possible during the span of leadership. That is how come states like Imo, Abia, and Bayelsa, are frightened stiff of opposition and consequently tend to pull wool over the eyes of the electorate with falsehood and exaggerated achievements. The journalists in these states and perhaps others I have not closely observed are here classed as practitioners of fascist journalism. In my mind they should not be regarded as true journalists. I place this anomie squarely on the shoulders of Peoples Democratic Party and their ignoble anchor man General Olusegun Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo, who administered PDP party with intent to build a monarchy of mindless zombies and nearly succeeded in dehumanising the entire party following. They stand and call themselves a party today in utter self delusion. They lost that right as soon as Obasanjo single-handedly emasculated the party on several occasions and successfully placed Late Musa Umar Yar’Adua on the saddle with no semblance of democracy and without a quibble from the zombies. That is what some of the PDP governors use as template for self perpetuation. Bad examples are fun to quickly adopt.
The print and electronic media in fascist states are breeding grounds for fascist journalism. It is an undesirable distortion of journalism which is prevalent in conditions of underdevelopment for which Africa is a model continent of leaders with insatiable desire cling on to reins of power unto physical death. The practitioners of journalism in states with fascism should change profession if they cannot ride the storms of conflict and give the service which the profession owes the people, which is information that has been distilled and presented in a form that will elevate the understanding of truth about events and statements of the power elite especially the political elite. Journalism, in spite of differences between Walter Lippmann and John Dewey in concepts of the role of journalism, should have the overriding responsibility to the people and dedication to truth.
I have culled the desiderata of journalism from Wikipedia on the internet:
Journalism's first obligation is to the truth.
Its first loyalty is to the citizens.
Its essence is discipline of verification.
Its practitioners must maintain an independence from those they cover.
It must serve as an independent monitor of power.
It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise.
It must strive to make the news significant, interesting, and relevant.
It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional.
Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience.
In the April 2007 edition of the book, they added the last element, the rights and responsibilities of citizens; to make it a total of ten elements of journalism.”
Well, from the foregoing no one practising the enlightening profession in a fascist system deserves the shelter of journalism if he (there is I understand no female in the profession) does not have guts to publish and be dammed. Their disloyalty to the truth and the electorate is too forbidding of the title. No plea of insuperable odds need be taken in a democratic setting such as we are attempting to build or even in despotic climes where the people are strangled out of reckoning.
Any journalist who publishes or airs any falsehood that misinforms a people about their resources or their real condition should be ejected as unworthy vermin in the ranks of journalists. No pleas should be taken that life-line was being preserved. For giving correct information is a sacred duty of journalism.
I adore British Broadcasting Corporation BBC World Service. No item worthy of controversy is left without balance, no matter what nation is involved in an item of report. The pretenders at journalism in Imo and other fascist states in Nigeria carry on as if they could not be bothered about the people their profession serves. They earn money for deceit of the people. They should like Judas throw their earnings at their hirers and walk peacefully away from their desks into light spiritual consciousness.
No journalist worth his salt can plead inexorable fascism in the execution of his responsibility to the common man.
The sacred duty of the fourth estate of the realm is to provide balanced information to the publics which they address. Where even a despot breathes down the necks of journalists, there should be concert in shutting down the media until a change of leadership is effected. No information is far better than wrong information or untruth. The sin of deceit lies squarely on the shoulders of journalist where people act on the basis of trust in information disseminated. Miserable shall be the human spirit who allows himself to bear the burden of deceit of his people. One life span may not fully redeem the Karma generated.
Electronic media in a number of states have been captured and kept in custody of the governors of some states. The journalists there in those states are captive to the behest of the governors and nothing more. The proliferation of FM stations by Obasanjo has so far developed for opposition a kind of relief valve against the exclusive control of state media by governments in power for the opposite reason for which the stations came into effect. It must be clear now that Obasanjo’s intent was to garrison his monarchy. It is now a blessing for opposition in states like Imo and Abia and Bayelsa. It is now the duty of regulatory authorities of the fourth estate of the realm to enforce rules that keep the sanctity of the profession inviolate. Those in fascist territories who work and earn under despots should be deregistered when it is established that they have published untruths in deceit of the populace. Untruths could lead to the emergence of false leaders of the people. The costs of repair are too far-reaching to contemplate.
People who prefer to earn money spreading falsehood should not be described as journalists but as fascist and fake journalists. For the word implies accuracy in reportage of earthly events. Anyone who distorts reports for any reason is a servant of the darkness.
The main duty of journalism is to protect the common will of the majority of citizens in any constituency. No one should pretend that the common will tallies with the will of a single citizen in a democracy.
True journalists should search for and find a different view on each and all reports emanating from government in order to better inform their constituencies. Nothing should bar journalists even in fascist regimes from investigating matters under report to arm themselves in controversy with the people they actually serve by dint of their choice of profession. They should independently check out pronouncements of governors and leave comments about what their own independent investigations yield.
Real journalists should copy from BBC and ensure that every item of broadcast has incontrovertible fullness issuing from investigative journalism. Investigative journalism puts fascist journalism completely away and keeps the electorate safe from unwarranted manipulation by inadequate leadership.
Fascist journalists are doomed to deserved damnation along with their dark and dangerous deities and demonic drove of destructive devotees.