Home Foreign CORRECTING MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NIGERIANS; AFRICANS — THE NEED FOR INTROSPECTION

CORRECTING MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NIGERIANS; AFRICANS — THE NEED FOR INTROSPECTION

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One of the most topical issues in the media in the past few days has been vociferous reactions to alleged stereotype of Nigerians as criminals by a section of the influential foreign media on account of the alleged criminal conducts of some fellow citizens abroad. Time after time, some Nigerians travel abroad and are found guilty of perpetrating objectionable offences that open the flanks of the country to condemnation and dishonour in the international community. Western media have always made a feast of such occurrences.  From my own estimation, aside football tournaments, the last time Nigerians rose in support of their nation in the manner recorded in the last few days on social media was when that great patriot – Gen. Murtala Ramat Muhammed was assassinated on February 13, 1976, in an abortive coup. This piece examines why the rag; and offers recipe on how to remove it by Nigeria. PROPRIETY: The Western media have come under scathing criticisms NOT on account of reporting the sordid occurrence; but for disseminating information thereon in a blanket form that suggests that Nigerians generally are criminals. The elementary doctrine of newsgathering dictates that ‘’bad news is good news’’ On that premise, no one can fault those who fed the information into their channels. It is like faulting the State Security Department for writing negative reports. In the second instance, I was informed when I had an opportunity to question the decency of perceived slanted news during a visit to the studios of the ABC Television in New York in 1986. I was informed that they report what their people want to hear or view; based on the professional judgment of their ‘’gatekeepers’’ – meaning those who filter information and decide what goes into their channels. This stance too cannot be faulted, since they operate as business concerns, in as much as they keep to the ethics of journalism. HIGH RISKS: Media owners in the United States, for instance, have advanced the argument that they reserve the right to serve their audience the news that they want to hear, and not what is perceived to be right by the developing world, to be able to continue with the business of information dissemination. However, experts in communication studies have argued that it would not do people resident in the advanced world any harm to learn and know more about residents of other parts of the…

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