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Help stabilize Nigeria’s democracy, Prof. Popoola urges media

A professor of Journalism and Media Studies in Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Professor Muyiwa Popoola says proprietorial interest affects reporting of political conflicts in Nigeria in a manner that escalates rather than subside such conflicts.

He said this while delivering the 10th inaugural lecture of the University Thursday, Pril 12, 2018.

In the paper titled ‘Media, Politics and Conflicts in Nigeria: The Fourth or Ruinous Estate of the realm?’, he went down memory lane, explaining that over the years the press, especially the print media, has always slanted political stories in a manner that demonizes their proprietor’s opponent and give the impression that they were victims rather than combatants. He said some politicians float newspapers to propagate their interests rather than encourage objective and dispassionate reporting.

Ahead of next year’s elections, he  charged the press not to escalate political issues by taking sides in reporting them.

‘A good fourth estate of the realm is expectedly a socially responsible and development-oriented media that adopt  Conflict Sensitive Reporting  approach to reportage of political conflicts. In their gate keeping and agenda setting role in political conflicts, Nigeria media should assume the status of a good fourth estate of the realm, driven by professionalism and ethical standards. There are political machinations already in respect of 2019 general elections’ he said

‘Conflict resolution should be the paramount thing on the minds of Editors, Reporters and Correspondents and columnists on their beat. This will ultimately lead to peace building… in reporting political conflicts, Nigerian press must  maintain a balance between   professional ethics and standard on the one hand, and economic  pressure and ownership influence on the other ‘

He made a case for journalists   to undergo training and attend workshops on how to report political conflicts responsibly by embracing the canons of Conflict Sensitive Reporting, adding that the curricular of Universities, polytechnics and other schools that teach Mass Communication should include ‘Conflict reporting and Conflict sensitive Journalism.

Professor Popoola , who has taught Journalism and Public Relations in various institutions for nearly two decades, graduated with a First Class degree in Mass Communication from University of Nigeria, Nsukka before proceeding to University of Lagos for his master’s degree and the University of Ibadan for his doctoral work. He has written books and made contributions to local and  international journals.

The event, which was chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Rt. Rev. Professor Dapo Asaju was attended by dignitaries and  people from the academia.  After the lecture, the Vice-Chancellor declared that Popoola had successfully inaugurated his chair as a Professor of Journalism, Communication and Media Studies in the university.

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