Mass communication experts must be cracking their brains with heavy sledge harmer to actually find a new and more suitable adjective to describe what used to be known as junk Journalism. As for me, what is happening today is much deeper than junk. For want of a better expression, lets call it ‘information terrorism.’
It has crept into journalism practice and now confuses our understanding of the profession. What also suprises many communication experts is the rate at which the political class who are often the victims of the terror, display, gullibility for this trap. Their patronage is the sap that has sustained the oddity in Port Harcourt, the once glorious Garden City; so many of such news trash have sprang up like mushroom in the last few year. Tens of others are currently in their incubation stage – lava, pupa, name it. Most of the wild papers are printed in cubicles located in and around the famous Mile I market. No thanks to computer technology which forms the major technological accessory.
With one functional computer system and a copy typist, a publisher’ is almost adequately equipped to get on with the business. The names are not always outlandish. From ‘Morning Sun’ to ‘Evening Moon’ Newspapers. Indeed, their editorial contents sound like moonlight tales. Rather than teach morals, educate or inform, they go all out to kill and bury. They castigate where they should criticize. They misinform where they should inform and they pass judgment for objective comment.
For them, libel is no longer an enforceable law and should not be respected. Social responsibility is now a game for the irresponsible. The casualties are not only the political class, but the reading public whose right to be truly inform and to read objective and balanced criticism is flagrantly abused.
Last year, the Hon. Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Tonye Harry came on the firering line over some of the allegations made against him at the Justice Eso Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
One of the captions reads ‘More troubles for Rivers Speaker – As he battles to save name. This was followed in quick succession by another even more embarrassing caption in another edition “Tonye Harry Recruits Thugs: Doles out N5m”.
The supposed front page news reads in part: “The Rt. Hon. Speaker may be parting ways with Governor Rotimi Amaechi, as any moment from now, the sword of Damocles hangs over his head. Sooner or later, Rt. Hon. Harry would be referred to as former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly if the forces against him finally had their way.”
This is a clear example of editorialisation in which the reporter injects his personal views and sentiments into what should otherwise be a news report.
It is against the ethics of journalism practice, but since we have convinced ourselves that papers like this are engaged in something other than journalism, it can be pardoned and the issue of etiquette need not arise.
Again, the second supposed news headline is telling whoever its readers are, that the Hon Speaker Tonye Harry has abandoned the serious business of lawmaking for which his constituency sent him to the State House and for which Rivers People made him Speaker, and taken to the recruitment of thugs to scare his accuser, Tonye Harry, son of late Chief Marshal Harry. May be because the latter accused him of having a hand in the kidnap of the mother of the former Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia.
The write up also alleged that the Speaker had already committed N.5 million into the project. The article obviously presented the allegation made against the speaker before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as if it was an established fact proved beyond reasonable doubt. Recently too, one of the Port Harcourt based local tabloids, Envoy made allegations of frand against a Rivers State lawmaker, Hon. Olari Brown in four different editions without substantiating the claim. Such reports can inflame passion. They run contrary to the overall objective of journalism. Any report that ignores facts is junk journalism and does not represent the interest of the public.
Junk must not be packaged as an integral part of journalism. Social Responsibility must be given an overriding consideration above any form of economic and political gains in the efforts to disseminate information.
Journalism is a noble and honourable profession and should not be allowed to be hijacked by ignoble and dishonourable people in the name of politics.
Chukwu is a media consultant based in Port Harcourt.
Ahead 2027: Pro-Tinubu Group Sets Up Structures In APC
The Mandate Movement (TMM), a pro-President Bola Tinubu group in the All Progressives Congress (APC), has set up 37 structures in a bid to enlarge its membership base across the country.
The structures consist of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The national leader of the movement, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, made this known in a statement, explaining that the move became necessary for the ease of administration.
Cardinal Odunmbaku, in the statement, noted that this move was a precursor to the preparations for the 2027 general election.
He stressed that the move aims at ensuring that the APC has strong dominance across communities and towns in every part of the country.
He advised those to be appointed as state coordinators to be more effective in mobilising new people into the ruling APC.
The APC chieftain also used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the President Bola Tinubu’s administration, assuring that the government was taking steps to address the harsh economic challenges.
Benue APC Crisis: Court Sacks Acting State Chairman
The recently suspended Benue State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Austin Agada, has been reinstated by a Makurdi High Court presided over by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese.
Recall that Mr Agada was earlier in the month suspended from office by another Benue High Court in Aliade presided over by Justice Lilian Tsumba following an ex parte motion filed by Mr Moses Agaba against him and the APC after his Ihaje Ward I Executive in Ogbadibo Local Government Area had passed a no-confidence vote on him and also suspended him for alleged anti-party activity.
The suspension was immediately followed by the inauguration of Mr. Benjamin Omakolo from Igoro Ward, Apa LGA as the acting State Chairman during a State Executive Committee meeting of the party presided over by Governor Hyacinth Alia.
However the crisis in the party took a dramatic turn Monday when Justice Ikpambese reinstated Mr. Agada while ruling on a motion by the embattled chairman seeking to set aside the interim order restraining him from parading himself as Chairman.
After listening to the arguments of counsel to Moses Agaba, Mr. Johnson Usman, and that of Innocent Daagba, who appeared alongside Richard Ayilla, George Ushongo, Daniel Sorkaa and John Ifer who appeared for Mr. Agada, Justice Maurice Ikpambese vacated the order restraining him from parading self, function and acting as the Chairman of the APC in the State.
Justice Ikpambese ruled that “under Order 39, rule 3 of the Benue State High Court Procedure Rules, 2023, the lifespan of an interim order is seven days, and since the order was issued on February 2, 2024, it has elapsed by law.”
Justice Ikpambese nullified the appointment of Benjamin Omakolo as acting Chairman and any other appointment made from February 2, 2024.
He accordingly struck out the motion seeking to set aside the interim order of February 2, 2024, as “it has been overtaken by events.”
The matter would be assigned to another Judge by the Chief Judge who would hear it on its merit.
Reacting, the APC State acting Chairman, Mr. Omakolo dismissed the reinstatement of Mr. Agada saying “whether the order restraining him (Agada) from parading himself as the Chairman is vacated or not, the fact that he has been suspended by his Ward still places a ban on him to be able to function as APC Chairman in Benue State. “And it will interest you to know that in the court ruling today, no matter concerning my person or role as the acting Chairman was mentioned.
“So, I still remain the valid acting State chairman of the APC in Benue State. I remain the one who pilots the affairs of the APC in Benue State and the APC family takes instructions and directives from my office as the acting Chairman of APC in the State.
“And even that wrong vacation that was done in the High Court has already been appealed. The person that took him to court has appealed the judgement because it is not correct in law for a High Court to restrain another High Court, a court of coordinate jurisdiction. I have long assumed office as the acting Chairman of APC in Benue State.”
There’s No Changing Bayelsa Gov’ship Result – Diri
Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has said that the November 11, 2023, governorship election in the State has been won and lost and cannot be changed through subterranean moves of his main rival in the poll.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the incumbent governor winner of the election and presented certificates of return to him and the deputy governor-elect, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, on November 17, 2023.
Diri, who spoke on Monday during the first year memorial service of his late father, Pa Abraham Diri, at the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Sampou, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, said the subpoena to the police to testify as witness at the election petition tribunal by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, was diversionary, a waste of time and an exercise in futility.
He said the acceptable standard was the election result declared by INEC and not that of the police.
His words, “they are bringing a police report. They are bringing a police commissioner to come and testify in the election tribunal. We have crossed that bridge long ago. Just as we stopped them from rigging, we will stop them again.
“If you want to subpoena anybody, let it be INEC, which conducted the election and declared the results. The police are in charge of security.
“Let us be steadfast. Our second tenure will be better than the first.”
The governor eulogised his father for laying a solid foundation for him and his siblings.
According to him, his father was being celebrated a year after his death because he left good legacies that were speaking through him and his siblings.
He said: “His impact upon our lives, his children and relatives, is unspeakable. That is why I believe in giving the best education to children, so that whether you are alive or not, they can stand anywhere. I urge fellow Bayelsans to give their children good education.
“What we are doing today is to appreciate God and celebrate the life of our father for what he has done in our lives. Our father guided us very well. All his life was how to discipline and give what he had to society.
“Those of us in leadership as president, governors, Speakers and other positions, let us know that there is a legacy we should leave, which will speak for us when we leave this world.”
Speaking on the topic: “What will you be remembered for?” Rev. Funkuro Amgbare, Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Izon of the Anglican Communion, noted that Pa Diri was being remembered a year after his death because he impacted positively on his children and the society.
He admonished all to live a life worth remembering by maintaining their integrity.
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