By Micheal Joseph Okon
Hold your peace, I am not here to attack this noble profession, rather I am pondering out aloud on what is really going on? Is the Akwa Ibom State council of NUJ a toothless Bulldog that can not, would not or must not touch acclaimed Journalists who have crossed the line of civility in the pen profession? How does the NUJ feel when outright falsehood is being disseminated by supposed investigative journalists, or do they have feelings or should I say, have they grown past feelings? Have the Custodians of the people’s conscience thrown their conscience to the dogs, is their conscience severed and sealed with hot iron from the pit of hell to the point of no return? Are there no laid down disciplinary procedures against the act of peddling falsehood within council or are victims of the pen profession subjected to seeking Justice only from the Court? If NUJ council can not discipline their members and call them to order under binding rules and principles, then I fear to suggest total scrapping of such body except it lives up to expectations of the common man on the street.
Case is view; Gideon Ekere’s Sex Scandal front page news caption of his paper The Post that is taking him to court when he should be making a living as a young man, Global Concord Newspaper’s armed robber governor despicable piece,and other incessant outburst and lies against government officials for cheap political points by Journalist who should be held in high esteem. It is believed that if The NUJ executive council is coherent, apt and efficient, her members would bring more respect,dignity and honour to the Profession. The moment a Journalist takes side in Political thinking which invariably will show in partial Journalism and Outright lie telling in between teeth, such a journalist has become a disaster, a willing societal destructive tool formulating unthinkable and unimaginable degradable stories to the satisfaction of pay masters. At such deplorable state,the pen Profession loses trust and societal confidence.
As powerful as the pen is,there must be checks and balances, thus the existence of governing bodies. NUJ councils should please not always wait until official complaints are made by Victims before they call their members and enquire to the authenticity of publications especially when cases of glaring unprofessionalism is in view, I speak as a layman.
Its disturbing and worrisome, that for a piece of bread, Journalists will write almost anything as if they were scripting for Nollywood, Bollywood or Dollyhood where anything is practicable beyond the realm of reason and decency but fictions.
We all have our pens, no thanks to technology were one man does it all and with the press of the button, collateral damage sets in. Irreparable damages has been done to the innocent, State businesses have suffered ill will, investors are put in dilemmas for reading falsehood written by bought over Journalists who would rather destroy our state for a token than defend superior performance which makes for a better FUTURE for today’s people and generations of Akwa Ibomites yet unborn.
No doubt catchy headlines drive traffic which in turn translates into pay cheques,and the Journalist smiles to the bank, but must we destroy our society just to fill our pockets? What pride is there not rendering an open apology and recanting false publication? Why choose to stress your victim to seek redress on your falsehood because you hope to wrinkle out from the claws of the law on technical grounds? Why?
Sometimes I wonder if being a journalist is the least of Profession since any frustrated life capable of juggling pun together has access to hawking news. Probably the demand for BREAKING NEWS is gradually breaking the Profession which is now being subjected to untold belittling and ridicule because the entrance has broken and any lowlife picks a pen for vengeance or simply to survive the present harshness.
All hope is not lost for this distinguish profession,for they determine the pace of development or destruction of a State or Nation. For us as the only state named after God, we implore the leadership of NUJ across board to be more proactive in stemming the ugly destructive tide and trend yet prevailing and make more stringent rules and scrutiny for those seeking to be Publishers and custodians of the Peoples conscience. Akwa Ibom NUJ council should up the ante, withdraw Certificates Of Recognition and excommunicate persistent recalcitrant members for the sake of their overall integrity which is in doubt in Public Court.
As Youths of this great state whose lives are deeply influenced by what we read, we plead with the leadership of NUJ to chart a new course of greatness for our FUTURE.
Micheal Joseph Okon is the Int’l President Coalition Of Youth Leaders(CYL) In Akwa Ibom State.