“Nigeria’s economy is too weak to support press freedom” | The Guardian Nigeria News
The Guardian’s managing director and editor Martins Oloja said the country’s economy was too weak to support press freedom.
Oloja said this in Abuja yesterday during a media dialogue hosted by the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).
He noted that the country urgently needs a strong capitalization to support strong investigative journalism that can hold officials to account.
Calling for support from the private sector, Oloja warned that if media officials continued to depend on evil and criminal rulers who toppled Nigeria for capitalization, the situation could get worse.
He said that only good journalism can improve Nigeria’s system of governance, in terms of empowering people and keeping them under scrutiny until they work for the benefit of the citizens.
He said: “It costs a lot of money to do freelance journalism. It’s not about reporters, although some reporters are lazy and don’t want to do much. But if you want to do investigative journalism, you need capital.
“If the Nigerian economy stays that way, we’re not going anywhere because we don’t have the right capitalization to support strong investigative journalism. Most homeowners don’t have the money; they depend on the system for their survival. Thus, we end up giving rewards to the people we are supposed to hold accountable.
“We cannot practice solid journalism. What we’re doing here is public relations and marketing, not journalism. The country’s economy is too weak to support press freedom, as managers still depend on the system we monitor for their income. And here’s the problem. “
Oloja further explained: “Journalists today are trying. Journalists today are highly educated. But we work in bondage; the slavery of systemic failure that we cannot point out.
“We have a few questions. We have documents. But can we be bold in what we do because they owe us or because we need their advertisements?
“The solution is that we work with the election management agency in Nigeria and in the states, to have good people in government, to improve our economy. If we don’t have a robust economy and good federalism that will make states proactive in managing their destiny, rather than coming to Abuja to share small revenues that are not commensurate with the revenues of the city of New York, we’re not going to get out of this situation. “
Earlier in their opening remarks, ICIR Executive Director Dayo Aiyetan and MacArthur Foundation National Director Dr Kole Shettima stressed the importance of independent journalism in promoting vulnerable voices.