SECTION 22 of the Nigerian Constitution explicitly obliges the Nigerian media to hold government accountable to the Nigerian people. In the wake of the declaration of a state of emergency in three Northern states, I have been giving myself the pause on the obligations of the media.
Our newspapers are presenting almost the SAME set of stories, written nearly word-for-word on the operations of the security forces. It is very close to having “embedded journalism” writ large on all of us.
But how are we sourcing our stories of what is happening in the theatres of operation? Have we become PR outlets for the security forces and the state? Do we really know what is happening in the different places?
What about the human rights of people in these communities? May we be acquiescing in actions that will not stand scrutiny? Might we eventually regret our gung-ho, uncritical reportage which tell only the side of the security forces?
These questions have crossed my mind as I think about Section 22 and the state of emergency. We will still ask these questions sometime in the near future.