8 November 2012

Africa: Reward the Media That Resist to Public Powers, Pressures

Photo: Tami Hultman/AllAfrica
Amadou Mahtar Ba, chief executive officer of the African Media Initiative and chair of AllAfrica Global Media.

Dakar — Media Trust Limited's chief executive officer, Nigeria's Kabiru Abdullahi Yusuf has suggested to reward media resisting government pressure and control.

He has suggested in a debate on the theme "Media and citizenship", within the framework of the 5th edition of the African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) being currently held in Dakar, Senegal, from 7-9 November.

Tribalism, the exclusion of minority groups, as well as religious conflicts, are still rife in Africa, lamented Media Trust Limited's chief executive officer, Mr Kabiru Abdullahi Yusuf who mentioned, to his regret, his country's case, Nigeria which is confronted with fratricidal conflicts opposing local populations. The journalist explained that the role of the media has changed. In the independence era, media collaborated with all the people, thus playing a positive role.

However, after the independence period marked by fierce fight for the control of public affairs, we have witnessed the birth of partisan media that have fought along with people, thus changing their editorial lines to defend the interests of the holders it the new leaders, to the detriment of vulnerable populations. As a result, grassroots voices could no longer be heard. That gave birth to small newspapers, leading to free media, as opposed to State media.

Conflicts in Africa, particularly in Rwanda have highlighted the negative role of "Radio Des Milles Collines." Today, with the pressure of the market and the survival instinct, sensational reporting is prevailing over nation-building agendas. Political divisions remain exacerbated by the media in search of more markets shares.

To change this situation, we must change our behaviors, Mr. Yusuf insisted. The Nigerian gave the example of media in Kenya and in South Africa which are becoming stronger and are firmly resisting the attempts of government authorities to control them. This way, Mr Kabiru Abdullahi Yusuf has suggested the creation of a prize to reward the media refusing to fall to some traps such as those used by governments.

According to Media Trust Limited's chief executive officer media should be sanctioned both positively and negatively.

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