Role of Christian Journalists in Ensuring Peaceful National Co-existence

THE ROLE OF CHRISTIAN JOURNALISTS IN ENSURING PEACEFUL NATIONAL COEXISTENCE
THE ROLE OF CHRISTIAN JOURNALISTS IN ENSURING PEACEFUL NATIONAL COEXISTENCE

THE ROLE OF CHRISTIAN JOURNALISTS IN ENSURING PEACEFUL NATIONAL COEXISTENCE

BEING A PAPER DELIVERED BY THE REGIONAL SUPERINTENDENT, ODUBANJO REGION OF CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH NIGERIA AND OVERSEAS, PASTOR BENJAMIN AKANMU

PROTOCOL

INTRODUCTION

I am highly elated to speak to you gentlemen of the press on the topic “The role of Christian journalists’ in ensuring peaceful National coexistence”. In situating the discuss I am of the opinion that Nigeria is in focus, although not mentioned, it is implied. That being the case there is the need to look at some key words that needed to be defined to make for a precise and robust discussion.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

CHRISTIAN

Put succinctly, a Christian is someone that has given his or her life to Christ and living a Christ like life. Christianity is not a religion but a way of life. A Christian must pattern his or her life to fit in to that of the master Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.

JOURNALISTS

Journalism is a process of gathering information, processing such information and disseminating it through the radio, television, newspapers and the social media which is the new media that allows information to move on the super highway. The recognized professionals involve in this process are the journalists. Although, the social media has nearly turned journalism to an all-comers profession, there are still those recognized and certified these are journalists. As the fourth estate of the realm, journalists set agenda for discussion and shape the opinion of the people. They are also the watchdog of the society.

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PEACE

Peace is about conflict and conflict resolution. As long as there are issues, there will always be conflict, when a conflict is not resolved it will lead to crisis which has the tendency of degenerating to war if not addressed quickly. From the above analysis it is clear that issues will always give birth to conflict and unresolved conflict leads to crisis that can lead to war as we had in the Nigeria civil war and other minor skirmishes like the #End-sars and various protests. It should be noted that there can never be absolute peace except that of the grave yard. As long as we have issues like resource control, true federalism, revenue allocation formula, religious differences, suspicion, gender equity, governance, political party affiliation, cultural differences and several others, what is attainable is relative peace.

NIGERIA

Nigeria is a conglomerate which came into being in 1914 through the amalgamation of the then Northern and Southern protectorate by Lord Lugard. This marriage of incompatibility has been referred to as the mistake of 1914 and accident of geography. Be that as it may the country has been together for over 100 years. As expected we have some and centrifugal forces, that is those things that brings us together and those that divides us. This paper is trying to call on Christian journalists as the one that set agenda in any society to lay emphasis on the centripetal forces. Let us now examine the factors that are threatening the peaceful coexistence of the nation.

THREAT TO PEACEFUL NATIONAL COEXISTENCE

Weak economy: According to the World Poverty Clock 2023 Nigeria has been classified as the poverty capital of the World with 71 million people living in extreme poverty and a total of 133 million people classed as multidimensional poor according to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The fuel subsidy removal and the nosediving of the Naira to the Dollar viz-a-viz the fact that the country is import dependence with little export have further worsening the economic situation. There are massive unemployment and under employment, hunger brought about by a lot of factors including but not limited toerratic power supply, corruption, displacement of people in the farming communities and open grazing.

Security challenges: Ranging from the resilient Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in

the North East, militancy in the Niger Delta, farmers/herders clash from the Central belt to the South, Biafran separatist agitators as well as oil theft and violent criminality in the South East, ritual killings in the South West coupled with the wide spread spate of kidnapping for ransom all over the country. Nigeria can be said to be facing multiple security issues.

Social issues: Drug trafficking, cultism, drug abuse, human trafficking, communal/ethnic clash, religious intolerance and various social vices are some of the social problems militating against our peaceful coexistence.

Electoral system:Our electoral process is fraught with a lot of factors like vote buying, ballot box snatching, rigging, violence and lot more, such that winners are longer decided at the polling booth but at the court. You cannot claim to have won an election until the supreme or appeal court judges pronounce you as the winners.

ROLE OF CHRISTIAN JOURNALISTS IN ENSURING PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE

Embrace developmental journalism: As Christian Journalists you have to embrace developmental journalism which has the objective of participating in the social, economic and cultural uplift of the society by reporting and analyzing policies, events and trends that have a bearing on the societal development. The way Boko Haram activities is being reported by some journalists portraying terrorist as militarily our armed forces could dampened the morale of our men while that of the enemy of the nation.

Avoid sensational reporting: a typical journalist news is when bad things happen. They are only interested in the unusual that will be horrific. There is the saying that when dog bites man is no news, but when man bites dog.As Christian journalist there is the need to play down on negative events, avoid sensational reporting.

Avoid yellow journalism: This is a type of reporting that dwell on sensationalism without finding out the facts. The story is always one sided with the aim of creating confusion that will attract traffic to their publication. Yellow journalism is often found on the social media where they run sensationalized stories in order to attract traffic to their social media space for financial gains This must be avoided by Christian journalists.

Avoid financial inducement: Some journalists take financial inducement to write fake story or suppress the truth in their reportage. It will interest you to note that this started from the Bible days. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 28:12 when the elders had assembled and taken counsel they gave large sum of money to the for them to report that His disciples came by night and stole him away while they were sleeping. The bible recorded in verse 15 that they took the money and did as they were taught. A lot of journalist today take financial inducement which I learnt they call by many names like last paragraph, brown envelope, signature, ki lo ba de As Christian journalists you should desist from this order to build a peaceful nation.

Always balance your Story: Do not be at rush to break the news. Always endeavor to see that you verify your story. When in doubt, leave out should be uppermost in decision. If you break any news let it be good news. In 2 Samuel 18:19-33 Ahimaaz the son of Zadok was to go andbreak the news of the death of Absalom to King David but Joab said no and asked that Cushi should go but requested that he should also be allowed to go. He overran Cushi by going through the way of the plain as the King him he he must have come with good tidings because he is a good man and Ahimaaz gave the message in a subtle way. As Christian journalist if you must go through the information super highway of the New Media to break your story as against the conventional media be sure you are bearer of bad news.

Freedom of the press: This is another subject that must be interpreted with caution. There is no absolute freedom anywhere in the world. The press is as free as the system allow. As Christian journalists you have to abide by the law and put the interest of the nation at front burner. It is instructive for our journalists to note that you cannot see any bad story about the Western world on the CNN. They do not wash their dirty linear outside. It took a singer MajekFashek a tour to America to discover that there are beggars on the street in America. It is only Nigeria journalists that will be quick to publish the story of fake certificate against their incumbent President even it is yet to be fully proven. The level of our democracy and Freedom of Information law must not be abused by Christian journalists.

CONCLUSION

It is also expected of Christian journalists to highlight the good side of the country by saying the cup of Nigeria is half full instead of saying it is half empty. The scripture in Isaiah 40:2 says “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins”(KV). It is also instructive to note that twelve spies were sent by Moses to spy the land of Canaan, ten came with bad report while only two, Joshua and Caleb, came with good report. You can be the Joshua and Caleb of this generation. Do not be like the soldiers by the tomb of Jesus Christ who had the opportunity of witnessing His resurrection but decided to sell their conscience.

The media, because of the position they occupy as opinion molders and influencer couple with some level of believability placed on whatever people listen to on radio, watch on the television and read in the newspaper,it is necessary they imbibe the spirit of social responsibility and loyalty to the nation. Even the social media have displacing the conventional and the traditional media in purveying

information to the masses hence there are some that are online journalists. As Christian journalists we can do a lot in ensuring peaceful national coexistence of Nigeria by embracing developmental journalism and exercising the freedom of the press under the present democratic dispensation with the fear of God.

The Irony of it is that journalists are paid to report good news but when there is an evil occurrence you do not need to invite them before they come and report it free of charge. If a wedding service is held in a church and everything went smoothly, you will not see journalist reporting such, but supposing the bride or the groom drop dead at of the service, journalist will quickly rush in and start to interview They will even want to interview the dead if possible. This is the riddle I will leave you with as Christian journalists. We can change the narrative for better.

Thanks for listening

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