News Commercialization Bane Of Community Journalism Development In Nigeria - Soyinka - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

News Commercialization Bane Of Community Journalism Development In Nigeria - Soyinka

Oba Adekunle Oyelude (middle) with Tropic Reporters Media founder, Mr. Adeyemi Adejola Crown

Zainab Azeez & Mariam Bello

ABEOKUTA - A communication scholar, Mr. Irebami Soyinka of the Department of Mass Communication, McPherson University, Ogun state has blamed high prevalence of commercialization in the media industry on the under development and poor news coverage of the rural areas. 

Soyinka noted that commercialization in the media makes it impossible for communities to have a stake in the media and have their voices heard. 

He stated this at the weekend in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital while delivering a keynote address at the Tropic Reporter's Choice Award.

Speaking on the theme: "The role of community journalism in nation building", the media expert alluded technology and urbanization to social anomalies affecting media practice in Nigeria. 

He noted that, apart from the primary roles of good journalism which is to inform, educate and entertain, he emphasized that, the media should focus on social control which can be achieved when certain pitfalls and gaps are bridged. 

According to him, community journalism had been marginalized in Nigeria hitherto which denied the communities its intend to serve, while nations like Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Benin Republic boast of scores of community media.

He maintained that, the essence of community journalism was to create a stronger community understanding between the newsrooms, journalists and public officials on issues facing the rural communities. 

Soyinka, therefore, called for communication and information sharing link to make information available at the finger tips of everyone to prevent crime at the grassroots level. 

He added that, decentralisation and local governance would enhance cross-gender dialogue and bring the communities closer to the decision making process. 

"Overtime, the social responsibility theory research by Siebert, Peterson and Wilbur Schramm emphasizes that news stories and journalism as a profession shift from solely publishing objective news to interpretative reporting; with the goal of reflecting the society’s plurality by giving access to various points of view and granting all the right to reply. 

"Community journalism is a people-centric journalism which encourages local diversity, greater depth and context of news coverage as well as a strong understanding of various communities. It is not a one-off kind of journalism – but a civic duty. It is the most potent resources in the political system.

"Community journalism is designed, developed, institutionalized and operated to serve the needs of communities who hitherto had been marginalized from the media in the whole of Nigeria, while Nations like Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and even Benin Republic boasts of scores of community media. 

"The essence of community journalism is to create a stronger community understanding between newsrooms, journalists and community/public officials on issues facing our communities. That is why Dennis McQuail in his ‘Democratic-Participant Theory’ postulated that the media should exist primarily for the audience and not for professionals, clients or even media organizations.

"Problems inherent in Community journalism in Nigeria includes: Unfavourable or defective journalism structure 

Regulatory process is not favourable (NBC license is quite expensive, free-speech is marred, bad business climate) 

High prevalence of commercialization in the media makes it impossible for communities to have a stake in the media and have their voices heard.

"Professionalism, empathy and social cohesion is missing among personnels in the media (the core philosophy of establishing media organizations have been thrown away.) 

"Ways Community journalism could entrench National development. Education and livelihood improvement. Communication and information sharing link (news becomes proactive and reactive; with information on the fingertips of everyone). This helps to prevent crime from the grassroots level. 

"Decentralization and local governance. This enhances cross-gender dialogue; bringing the communities closer to the decision-making process, Culture promotion and social cohesion, increased income and economic activity."

In his welcome address, the founder, Tropic Reporters Media, Mr. Adeyemi Adejola underscores the importance of community journalism to local media consumers.


Adejola however promised to always continue to promote the ethics of journalism to the best international practices. 

Meanwhile, about 11 distinguished personalities were honoured with individual awards.

Among the awardees are; The Olowu of Kuta Kingdom, Oba Adekunle Oyelude Makama, the Regent of Aaye, Ondo State, HRM Taiwo Oyebola Agbona. 

According to Tropic Reporters Media founder, Adeyemi Adejola noted that the award was designed to honour people who have made tremendous impact in the society through their chosen professions. 

Other awardees include: Alhaji Wasiu Olaleye (President of Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture), Asiwaju Dapo Wahab (Chairman of Ifedara Opeji Area CDC), Commander Soji Ganzallo (Ogun State So-Safe Corps Commander), Ven. (Dr.) Samson Kunle Popoola (Ogun State Chairman of Police Community Relations Committee). 

Others are; Hon. Semiu Bola Lawal (Caretaker Chairman of Odeda Local Government), Mr. Tobiloba Daniel Joseph (Rock City), Mr. Ayomide Adetunji "Quality" (Splash fm OAP), Benita Oluwasemilore Alex (Founder of Chosen Ambassadors Initiative) and Gbenga Fayehun (Splash fm OAP).

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