Communication scholars task Buhari on cordial media relations in new term

Buhari, afetr returning to Abuja from Daura

President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to work towards a media-friendly administration, as he takes office for another term.

This followed Buhari’s declaration as winner of last Saturday’s presidential elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the early hours of yesterday.

Differently, communication scholars expressed concern about the president’s shaky relationship with the media in his first term. They told The Guardian on phone yesterday that “not much is expected to change” in the next four years.

Chairman, Centre of Excellence in Multi-Media/Radio and Television, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, advised the administration to work more towards media-friendliness by making sure that the regulatory bodies like National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigerian Press Council (NPC) do their work properly rather than engaging in litigation.

He said: “The journalist should be more professional in discharging their watchdog role. Government should be more tolerant in terms of the performance of the press. Media owners should encourage professionalism and not compromise credibility.”

He advised the National Assembly against acts that would expose them to the wrong side of the pen.

“When you fight and throw chairs in chambers, you give the journalist something to write about. They (lawmakers) need to pass laws that are relevant and can add value to the country. There is need for the media and government to work together; there should be trust and cordiality between the two.

Prof. Tony Afejuku of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) said, “For the past four years, we have called him President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB), and he tried to be, but his relationship with the media was not very cordial. This time, he would be General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB), because I don’t expect him to behave differently from what he was in 1983 as a military head of state or as a civilian president.

His cabal of intriguers, his media aides are like puppets and can only do what they are being told to do. Everybody is suffering and it would be a miracle for things to be different.”

Prof Lai Oso of School of Communications, Lagos State University (LASU) believes the party would do better in the next four years.

“The security agencies, I want to believe, have learnt some lessons. The government would be more relaxed this time around and will be more interested in leaving some legacy.”

Oso, however, pointed that the media must be more conscious.

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