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Media and democratic governance

The media is a powerful tool in sustaining democracy. The Western media is ideologically based and stands for what it believes. It stands to offer the best obtainable news to the people.

The media is the voice of the masses. When the politicians tell the people what they want to hear, the sugar-coated speeches, the media will tell the public the political implications of what the politicians are saying.

The media is the people’s watch-dog and it is free to express the truth in the Western world, but in the Third world, it is a different thing. Media is not free there.

Media includes every broadcasting and narrow casting medium (business dictionary.com).

Since the advent of mass media through information technology, our horizon has been expanded and man can see and watch what is happening in the world.

One can be in his sitting room and watch what is happening in a global world; even telephone has shortened distances, making man almost multi-present.

Before when we had to discuss with our elders, we had to go miles, but telephone has become a substitute for personal communication.

In the past when people wanted visiting their big brothers in the city for help without prior information, they ended up stranded but telephone has reduced the stress and such embarrassment.

In today’s world, politics cannot do without media because politicians use the media in their campaigns to propagate their manifestoes, policies and their agendas to influence the electorates. Media is important before entering politics and when in power. Its role is unimaginable.

The traditional and the new media remain a force to be reconed with in politics. No wonder many politicians own some media houses because it gives them leverage to communicate at any time.

The new media, -social media, has become a powerful campaign engine which politicians in Nigeria and other places have used to manipulate the electorate and win elections.

A case study of APC government outsting PDP government in 2015, and Trump in 2016 defeated Hillary Clinton. These were possible through strong social media propaganda campaign.

The degradation of one leader leads to the success of the other based on who has a stronger grip of media and money-power.

In the West, the politicians are in the eyes of media because the media enthrone a leader and dethrone too because it performs a watch dog function.

It is unfortunate that anarchy is raising its ugly face in America in their politics because of what is happening in America right now.

But in Nigeria politics right now there is insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians by the government.

The Nigerian media seem to maintain a conspiracy of silence due to unclear political climate of intimidation which suppresses freedom of speech in order not to be termed “hate speech” or crossing the “National Red line” according to our President, Buhari.

In America there seem to be a resurrection of racism, KKK, white supremacists in Charlotte Ville in Virginia.

People were shocked that the president could not call a spade a spade on the incredible flame of racism burning in Charlotte Ville.

Trump’s mute on this issue, and how he handled it questioned his leadership and many Americans were not impressed. Trump’s moral authority, capacity and fitness is questionable.

Many Americans feel that Trump cannot be fixed into any ideological box. His rhetoric puts him in a position where you cannot predict what next he may say.

Americans are unease when Trump goes out for international meetings because they do not know what he will say.

They fear when he goes out, he keeps them glued to the television to watch what he would say for fear of international embarrassment.

Trump is not on the same political page with the other world leaders. His sectarian politics has alienated him from democracy and American liberalism.

He is living in a free world and the American press is also free and comment on what he says and does.

That is what every media should do including Nigeria.

Trump is not free to do what he likes because the American media are there to diagnose his political behavior and his utterances on issues that affect America.

Trump cannot do anything wrong without a butt of ridicule from the media and that’s why he calls the media as reporting fake news. The only reason is that the media expose him and he has an aversion on media.

In the White House, if you are not his loyalist, you would not last long. He wants everybody to be on the same political page with him.

Nigeria shares some of the characteristics of the American President in terms of style of governance.

The Nigerian government has an archaic style of government; not democratic, for democracy is the government of the people by the people.

Everybody is clamoring for restructuring but the government does not see it as something that can benefit Nigerians.

The government does not care to listen to the common man as if he has monopoly of wisdom instead of consensus of opinions which is a democratic way of solving a problem. At Charlotte Ville incident, Trump said he obeyed his instinct.

Our Northern Arewa Consultative Forum have suggested a way of solving the problem of those agitating for Biafra, a referendum which is a modern way of solving a problem, like Quebec in Canada wanting to separate from Canada.

The Canadian Government called for a referendum and it was carried out. It was only one point Quebec would have separated from Canada. This act is continuous until Quebec gets what it wants.

The Very Reverend Monsignor Livinus Ukah is Parish Priest of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, Aboru, Lagos

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