Western media ever obsessed with bad news from Africa have been feasting on Boko Haram -The shameful terror of the extremists, accentuated by mystery abduction of Nigerian school girls.
Here in London the BBC, aided by her global sisters across the world CNN, VOA, Channel 4 and ultra radical Al Jazeera have assailed the senses with haunting distraught mothers wailing the loss of their children juxtaposed with blood chilling footages of Boko Haram barbarians ,draped in heavy guns and all manners of war architecture.
The traditional mainstream press-the newspapers and their stereotyped columnists are all painting Nigeria red! President Goodluck Jonathan is the whipping boy. Poor Jonathan
Melanie McDonagh of EVENING STANDARD calls the “Nigerian president the unhappily named Goodluck Jonathan…(who straddles a country where)…frontline soldiers are under-equipped, yet Nigeria’s annual Defence budget is £3.5 billion”.
In a piece that reads more like the writings of my childhood fantasy, James Hardly Chase, Nicholas Kristof of INTERNATIONAL NEWYORK TIMES penned that: “dozens of heavily armed terrorists rolled into the sleepy little town one night in a convoy of trucks, buses and vans …and vanished … 276 girls are still missing-and the Nigerian government has done next to nothing to recover them”.
He tied up the tale with hideous sarcasm; “Northern Nigeria is a deeply conservative area and if the school girls are recovered, it may be difficult for them to marry because of suspicions that they are no longer virgins”
British newspaper of the year, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH concluded that the Nigerian government has exhibited “impotent response to the kidnapping ..”
The foreign press has one damning predictable verdict: -Jonathan lacks action to find the girls.
Where are NTA, NAN, CHANNELS, AIT…and the flagship of the Nigerian press- THE GUARDIAN to tell the world that Jonathan and indeed all well meaning Nigerians have been having sleepless night fighting Boko Haram?
When will Nigerian-driven CNN come? Where is INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES- (Made in Nigeria)?
Resources and technology are the punishers of African media. African journalism has the power but no purse. I like journalism in the west no doubt. The twinkling immediacy, vivid colour and ostentation make the news so charming.
The CNN and BBC are all time greats. I am particularly in love with THE WASHINGTON POST, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH AND THE IRISH TIMES for their history and pioneering journalism. But the leading mascot of journalism in the Western Hemisphere- THE WASHINGTON POST is not my best newspaper in the world.
The dignified elevated language of the Nigerian GUARDIAN and the sweet prose of the defunct DAILY TIMES can make Pulitzer Prize patrons dance in awe. Lagos friend, Maukpe Ogun and her sharp gang on CHANNELS TV tackle complex social and political issues extempore with effortless ease on camera every day.
Each word, syllable and even full stop on CNN by Christie Amanpour and countless on -Air personalities up west, are on the Teleprompter. African journalists have the swagger but no style.
Colonialism or better still neo colonialism is the black man’s burden. Remember Walter Rodney, the assassinated Guyanese radical intellectual. Read How EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA.
Lest I forget, what a cheeky chat I saw on the headline of race sensitive UK newspaper THE VOICE. A British painter, named Maggie Hambling was quoted to have said after watching Oscar winning film, 12 YEARS A SLAVE starring Nigerian international actor Chiwetel Ejiofor that she would love to “own slaves”.
Anger was my palpable emotion when I watched the horrifying film, speechless for almost two hours aboard Heathrow bound Virgin Atlantic.
Who needs slavish property? How can anyone denigrate humanity with so vile a perception, even in this new age? However, tribes or regions are not evil, individuals are. I agree with author, Fredrick Forsythe in the ODESSA FILE.
The ONE WORLD MEDIA AWARDS, the object of my mission in UK, initiated by ONEWORLD Group rekindles a hopeful feeling of oneness and common humanity.
My profound gratitude to the ONE WORLD MEDIA for the sponsorship.
***Norbert Chiazor is the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council.