Corruption: Why ‘bad guys’ get more media coverage — Editor

Editor-in-Chief, Premium Times Musikilu Mojeed
Editor-in-Chief, Premium Times Musikilu Mojeed

The Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Musikilu Mojeed, on Monday said the activities of honest Nigerians go largely unnoticed and unrewarded due to the corrupt acts of others which the media prefer to publicise more.

He said this on Monday in Abuja during a panel discussion at the Integrity Icon Summit and Awards, organised by Accountabilitylab in partnership with Luminate, Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation.

The event tagged “Integrity Icon Summit and Awards” was organised to celebrate government officials who have showcased credible character, accountability and integrity in the discharge of their responsibilities.

“Let’s be frank, when you look through the media, do a content analysis, you will find that the media tries to highlight the good guys as much as possible,” the editor said. “But the problem we’re never aware of is that they (good guys) are too few. The bad guys usually drown them out.”

Also, he urged the organisers of the event to partner with media houses in order to amplify the good work they and other good people are doing.

“There is no reason as Editor-In-Chief of PREMIUM TIMES, I will become aware of people doing amazing work and not want to talk to you,” he said.

“Years after being a fellow of Ford Foundation, anywhere I travel to, Ford Foundation will arrange media exposure for me to ensure that the important work I am doing gets known around the world,” he added.

The Executive Director of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Dayo Aiyetan, who was at the event, said the media has more responsibility to look out for honest officials.

Mr Aiyetan, who was one of the panel discussants on the theme: ‘Media as a tool for making governance work through positive messaging’, said: “the first principal role of the media is to hold government accountable as asserted in section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution.”

“Section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution gives directly the media the responsibility of holding the government accountable,” he said.

He said, “We’re in a society where corruption is a way of life, that is why the media based most of its reporting strictly on corruption. A hundred media houses like PREMIUM TIMES, Sahara Reporters and ICIR are not enough to deal with the corruption in Nigeria.”

Augustine Agbonsuremi, the moderator of the panel, said the media has a role “not just to report corruption, but to also make sure that those who are not corrupt are also given space (recognition)”.

“That is when the media deliberately looks out for those who are doing well, those with integrity, those who are honest, and celebrate them, calling people’s attention to it. It has a way of diluting, influencing, changing the character of the corruption environment that we have,” he said.

Other speakers

While delivering his goodwill messages, Carl Michael Gräns, Ambassador to Sweden, said

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“Here in Nigeria, the Embassy of Sweden considers the drive for democracy as a priority theme. We are glad to partner with Accountability Lab towards the success of this Integrity Icon event because we believe that democracy opens doors for everyone to be involved in building a sustainable future without poverty, oppression and corruption.”

, the author of ‘Sweden: The untold story’, said although “telling the bad stories sells a great deal in media houses, people are very searching for good things from the media”.

“The media has a great role to play towards projecting and raising more awareness about good people in societies,” she said.

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