Fourth Estate of Realm Demands Respect|Olawale Ogunbusola
Understandably from the start of colonial administration in Nigeria far back in the 1900, we have had a designed three tiers of government including federal, state and local, all of which were later said that time overtaken by a military rulership than and even after independence.
From scholastic and socio-political efforts of the likes of Chief Obafem Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikwe , especially the first Vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan and an internationally revered author, Prof. Wole Soyinka gave a sort of popularity to Free Press.
Free Press as guaranteed by the now practiced democracy which draws part of its principles from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)of the United Nations into the 1999Constitution spells-out the right to constitutionally democratically disseminate information about a state, nation, country, institution or individual by citizens especially professional individuals who practice journalism.
As a matter of fact, information dissemination in this Age has improved from traditional ranging from prints, television, radio to news media including facebook,duo,whatsapp, Tiktok, Zoom, Youtube, among others, all of which have modernized the traditional media; credit to McLunan Marshal ,1904 who foresaw the World becoming a global village.
Of the said, democracy especially from 1999 when it became full-fledged in Nigeria thereby draws closer journalists to the arms of government which includes the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary naming its portfolio as the Fourth Estate not leaving out the Code of Ethics as created in the suggestion made in thr 1947 Hutchins Commission spelling-out five (5) guidelines critically for the Press:
i. Presentation of meaningful news, accurate and separate from opinion;
ii.serving as a forum for the exchange of comment and criticism and to expand access to diverse points of view;
iii.projecting a representative picture of the constituent group in society by avoiding stereotypes by including minority groups;
iv.clarifying the goals and values of society and,
v. giving broad coverage of what is known about a society.
To mean, the Fourth Estate offers a clear detailed Code of practice for anyone seeking to create ethical principled journalism irrespective of their background , employment status, means of delivery. The Code relates to professional journalists and for those outside the profession who are seeking to report honestly and fairly on the events and issues relevant to their community.
In the fore-mentioned, it is expected of the journalists to give a substantiated report as the world regards them either watchdog or guidedog for a worthwhile delivery; as emphasized in a solution journalism training held on Thursday 30th March at IACD Library and Resource Centre, Jericho as organized by Nigeria Health Watch facilitated by Chibuike Alagboso.
However, the research has found out that plenty of journalists have been either dehumanized , maimed, injured for official coverage of government’s or institution’s event ranging from seminars, training, outreaches, campaigns, swearing-ins, budgets presentation/approval , among others with either beating, embarrassment, dehumanization of media crew by the attached security elements to the mouth of the scene, despite official identifications and invitations. During the 2019 General Election, 250 newsmen as reported by International Press Centre,IPC were affected,14 during the concluded 2023 Presidential And National Assembly Elections, and 5 during 2019 the Covid-19 Era.
For the sake of clarity, I will cite three (3) media colleagues who faced security ill-treatment in Oyo State, with the belief the concerned authority will promptly address for a thriving democracy :
a. The present Oyo State House of Assembly Correspondents Chairman and Staff of Royal Root (R2 92.9FM) , Mr Oladapo Ibikunle : was harrassed during the 2018 Late Abiola Ajimobi’s Budget Presentation at the Oyo Hallowed Chamber by police members while unofficials ‘thugs’ were permitted and as well during the 2020 End Sars Demonstration at the Gate of the Government secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan by members of NSCDC, imagine for coverage!
b. The present Chairman, Association of Governor’s Reporters and Cameramen(AGORC) and the Nations Reporter, Mr Yinka Adeniran was batoned injuriously at the Lekan Salami Adamasingba in 2022 during the All Progressives Congress(APC) primary Elections, with its account unforgettable by the Police and
c. Just on Wednesday 29th March,2023 at the Olusegun Agangan, International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, minutes to the arrival of the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde ,FNSE,D.sc for his 2nd Term and 32 Lawmakers-Elect Certificate of Return Collection as organized by the Oyo State Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC led by its resident commissioner, Dr. Tella Adeniran, a BCOS Governor’s Reporter, Olamilekan Sulaimon was almost suffocated by a weaponry shield and a metallic baton against him, while other Governor’s Reporters, Special Assistant on Media and media officers were harrassingly embarrassed despite identification and orderliness . Is this what we the regarded watchdog or guidedogs are meant for?
In conclusion, I want to believe our amiable Governor,Seyi Makinde detests injustice. Recall, the G5 stands for equity, fairness, and justice and that all security elements around the government should be checked, called to order, as never to silent yielding democracies in the country.
Also, we greatly credit the Commissioner of Police, CP Adebowale Williams and Police Public Relation Officer,PPRO, Adewale Osifeso for their usual swift responses , while rightful address be conducted, as if reporters (4th Estate of Realm) are treated badly , what is the fate of common man? With respectable responses at demand by security elements which further increase security-media friendliness.
•Olawale Ogunbusola, Ibadan