Journalists must be guided by truth, independent thinking


John Chiahemen

A former Bureau Chief with Reuters, Mr. John Chiahemen has urged journalists in the country to be guided by ethics and independent thinking which are the principal tools of getting ahead in the quest for survival in the media industry.

In an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Lagos, Chiahemen said journalism has turned out to become a profession woven around so many interests hence, there is the need for journalists to balance the interests of parties to every stories be it; that of the owner or the political interest, journalists must not do somebody’s bidding.

“It is something that our journalists must rise above and it has to do with what I call poverty. People have to be conscious about their job; they don’t want to loose their jobs. So there is a limit to where you can exercise your conscience where there are a lot of doubts, where do you go from here”, he said.

According to him, the media industry in Nigeria have come a long way and have become a shinning examples for other media in the continent to emulate. He said the development of the social media doesn’t pose a challenge to the industry as the media due lack of control and issues of anonymity propagate inaccurate and incorrect stories while the traditional media are still viewed as trusted to confirm the authenticity of any event reported on the social media.

“If you asked me, should the social media be able to malign someone and get away with it, I would say, they should not. They should be able to account for what they do that is not right”.

Chiahemen bemoaned Nigeria’s lagging behind in the quest for digitization of the broadcast industry attributing it poor planning because the country has the financial muscle to join the league of nations that have digitized their media industry.

“Tanzania was one of the first to do it and if we have problem as a big country, then, there is a bigger problem to deal with, we have bigger resources than this people”.

He said the National broadcasting Commission (NBC) should be able to drive itself as a commercial enterprise, generating its own funds instead of operating like a government agency which depends on government for funding its activities.

The media consultant expressed optimism on the growth of pay television channels in Nigeria, which he observed has become stations in which both the upper and the middle class now patronize since the terrestrial channels have not proven to be good enough.

“There is room for varieties, so there is room for that variety and choice. People want choice and what the pay TV’s offer is just that choice”.

He disclosed that GOTEL began satellite broadcasting since March 25, 2016 on Channel 195 on CONSAT as the first ever station from the Northeastern part of Nigeria to be on the Direct to Home Satellite platform (DTH).

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