OBASESAM OKOI wrote…
“The media in Cross River, especially online journalists, have failed to bring equity and fairness to journalism. They are pre-occupied with PDP and only give media attention to money bags while neglecting APC, women aspirants and aspirants who probably do not have so much money to waste but have great visions that could lift our state and constituencies to enviable heights. In the wake of elections, we’ve seen a proliferation of media platforms in Cross River all reporting about the big players. Don’t we have women contestants? Don’t we have poor people with great visions who have genuinely indicated interest in leadership? Why is the media biased towards big names rather than focus on equity and fairness in the interest of democracy? Why has the media suddenly neglected APC? I suspect that the online media in Cross River has been co-opted and may soon lose credibility
AGBA JALINGO responds…
“My brother Obasesam, I am constrained to respond to this, though unusually because it touches on what I am doing and also that from your base in Canada, you are trying your best to contribute to the processes in our state, one of the products of your effort, Endure Onun, is today running Yakurreporters.com and also now designing websites, (he designed paradisevoice.com and he is also involved with mycrossriver.com), a skill he perfected from one of the training workshops organized by CrossRiverWatch.
I took time to add those details not to impress but to assure you of my highest regards for your contributions to developing capacity in our state even from far away Canada. If not so, I would have ignored the post and assume that it is from one flippant country man writing from the comfort of a land which was built by others, a task he/she absconded from in his own country.
Now in looking at your comment, your initial accusation that the media in Cross River, especially online journalists, have failed to bring equity and fairness to journalism is as old as journalism itself. In fact, it is hackneyed, not because it is not a just expectation, but because of its impracticability. Like sainthood, the two concepts, equity and fairness, though much desired are never attained in reality. Not even in the Courts, talk less of news room!
I like it when Peter Ofem in his comments drew it down to the reality in America where he lives. What is fair and equitable to an avid Aljazeera follower may not necessarily be same to a CNN enthusiast. Show me one nation in the world where the media meets that your ideal expectation and I will tell you the latitude and longitude where Heaven is located.
A media house is fair and equitable only to the extent that there is another one watching it too.
You also said “They are pre-occupied with PDP and only give media attention to money bags while neglecting APC, women aspirants and aspirants who probably do not have so much money to waste but have great visions that could lift our state and constituencies to enviable heights.”
That sounds more like good English than fact honestly or maybe you have not looked closely enough. APC chieftains, including Chief Obono Obla, the National Vice Chairman, South South of the Party, Comrade Hilliard Ettah, Hon. Cletus Obun who was former member of the CRSHA, Chief Alex Irek, the Minority Leader of the party in the CRSHA have all in different public fora attested to the fact that it is the online media that came to give APC a voice in Cross River State
According to them, though we have not been perfect, they agree that they have never had it this good with engaging government in the public space as it has become in the past two years with the advent of the online media. Even this morning, crossriverwatch.com still reported APC, a story that was sent to us from the official email of the publicity department of the south south Chairman’s office with whom we enjoy a robust professional relationship.
Talking about vulnerable groups like women and poor aspirants. The media reports events. The media reports news. There is no aspirant who is in this contest who has content that the online media in Cross River state has not reported. Prove me wrong. I repeat again that there is no aspirant in this race who has done any event or action or done anything that is news that the online media did not report. If one did not pick it up, the other did. The choice of language, the frequency of stories about any of the candidates, the choice of one media house to publish a story and another one deciding not to and all other related matters are strictly determined by the internal processes of each media organization. But if there is any candidate, male or female, able or disabled who has not been reported, it is because he/she has not started.
In the wake of election anywhere in the world, there is a proliferation of local media to propagate the interest of political aspirants and parties. Particularly now with the internet, the process has become even simpler. It is a welcomed development. It is the best thing that happened to the political process in Cross River State in particular in the past two years. I am sure majority here will agree with me. And we need them plentiful to continue to mushroom and time will make everything just fine.
You wonder “Why is the media biased towards big names rather than focus on equity and fairness in the interest of democracy?
In the last elections in the US, how many candidates can you remember seeing on CNN, BBC, ABC, FOX, Sky, Aljazeera?
Even in the run up to the Nigerian Presidential Election, who are the candidates you are seeing in the front pages of the national media?
We are even doing better, we keep talking about 26 candidates vying for governorship alone and I dare you, google any of their names, you will find at least a link to their names or picture in at least one or two of these CRS websites, including those candidates who hitherto did not even have a facebook ID. Yet you deny that world over, media attention is focused on the big names who have structures and following.
You ended by saying: “I suspect that the online media in Cross River has been co-opted and may soon lose credibility.”
Unfortunately you did not say what the online media may have been co-opted into. Wish I knew but the good thing is that you cannot lose what you don’t have. If we have credibility like you said, we realize that it was built after some hard work and we will do everything not to lose it.
The online media in CRS is very nascent. The challenges are still enormous and it takes a very determined will and love for our state to take on this mission we have given ourselves and we are not complaining; we have also prepared for the journey.
Gradually we are building team effort through the coming of the Association of Cross River Online Journalists, ACROJ to see how we can together build a stronger sector that will sustain the gains.
We are indeed very conscious of the future of our work and our society that is why we are building structures like ACROJ and conducting seminars and workshops to broaden our knowledge and share capacity to multiply our numbers and continue to build confidence in ourselves and gradually develop these proprietorships into sustainable business models.
Standards and ethics in a novel industry like this will also not be pulled out from the drawer and decreed to practitioners, they will evolve with time.
The truth is that what we are doing today is not perfect, but it is the right step in the right direction and more and more people should step in with developmental initiatives from their areas of strength and stretch out hands in fellowship with those who are already on the plough, weathering a lot of pain and pressure to maintain the momentum of information dissemination in the state”.
Greetings and peace profound!
*Agba publishes www.crossriverwatch.com
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