Thursday, 8 May 2014

THE PRESS INFLUENCE

'Another Bomb Blast Leaves Scores Dead in Maiduguri'.

That was the headline I saw. The moment that sunk in, I flew through my contacts until I got to my friend's name. I called and with every ring that completed it's cycle, my fear became more palpable. At last! Someone picked! I couldn't hear who was there. After a few seconds of shouting, 'My guy...! My guy....!', he finally responded. I didn't know just how worried I was until I heard his voice. We got talking and he said he had been at that very spot where the bombing occurred the previous day and the spot had claimed 'scores' of lives the following.

An area that was a commercial hub, according to all the media reports, was attacked by a lone suicide bomber who

probably did it because of the projected casualty and maybe a sense of greatness for their cause, which up till now, is not known.

What shocked me was when my friend said bombings were normal in Maiduguri. The people left their houses with the belief that they could die at anytime.

Why won't suicide bombings be normal? Have you watched Press TV recently? They show one car bomb here in Iraq, another one in Iran or Pakistan and like the citizens of Maiduguri, those citizens of the mentioned countries see bombings as normal.

When media outfits preach violence and racism and anti-Semitism (I won't even pretend to be subliminal here. I'm talking about Press TV and other stations of her ilk), people get influenced to also be violent, racists and anti-Semitics.

You never heard of no bombings until media outfits started showing them daily. You tune in to a channel and you hear 5-10 news stories of car bombings, suicide quests, hatred of anything Jew and/ or Christian and it is no wonder some zealots take up arms, or in this case, bombs.

The Middle Eastern and North African revolutions which was widely publicized by media houses such as Press TV, Aljazeera etc, went a long way in influencing other nations into committing similar acts. Syria is going on and on with a war that is destroying the nation and the media houses keep fueling the war by taking the government's side today and the opposition's tomorrow. Egypt is in turmoil because of the said revolution, which was again highly publicized by media outlets. Libya, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine all setting the trend for suicides, car bombings, church bombings etc. No wonder bombs in Maiduguri are now considered the norm in society.

Am I blaming the media? YES! You can't show me scenes of black people been constantly treated as scum by white people without planting the seeds of hatred in me. And like most seeds planted, THEY GROW! People are moved by what they constantly hear, see or read. I remember feeling the hatred from the graphic scenes shown by Press TV and after watching for some hours, I felt Israel was totally evil. But then, I had to come to the conclusion that they only reported what Israel was doing. What happened to what the Palestines were doing to the Israelis? It could only be a war if two people were plying each other with bombs. That was when I realized Press TV had an anti-Semitic agenda. Every media house has an agenda which they transmit in everything they do.

Media outfits should be objective in their reporting of issues. They should ensure their stories are factual, yet balanced. Nigerian reporters say, 'Muslim North' and I'm like 'What?!'. People who have never been to the Northern part of this country ask whether we have churches in the North, whether Christians are allowed to move freely. All the little innuendos perpetuated by the media is what fuels the discord that defines the country now.

If reporting is not objective, discord and disharmony becomes the norm! The media fueled the crisis in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Egypt and other such nations and if we do not hold the media responsible and accountable, we might allow them to goad us towards war and believe me, if Nigeria were to go to war today, it will be the mother of all wars because we are so many, so different in our tribes and cultures and our religious issues are so widely disparaging that Nigeria might implode on herself.

Let truth be said. Let the media report what is happening. Let them get the stories to the listeners, readers and viewers as objectively as possible, without subliminal hate messages imbibed into their reports. The nation is at the edge of a breaking cliff right now and we sure don't need any media house trying to push it into an unending chasm of war.

It is time for young people to stand up and address such issues and charge the government into holding the media accountable for every word it says, writes or shows. I'm all for free press and all that but your rights are only your rights as long as it does not impinge on the rights of another. The older generation do not have any nationalistic values hence, they do not care what the media does. We are the one that have to deal with the aftermath of everything. So, STAND UP!