The Media’s Constant Disregard For Other Political Parties Unhealthy For Nigeria’s Democracy — Imumolen
Accord Party’s presidential candidate in last Saturday’s general elections, Professor Christopher Imumolen has described as dangerous the media’s constant predilection towards favouring a handpicked few of the country’s 18 parties for special attention, especially in the area of according them and their activities maximum coverage.
Professor Imumolen, who contested the last presidential polls as the country’s youngest candidate is not happy that the media has been unable to fashion out a broadcast style that would give every player in the political race a level playing field for expression, as well as for self determination.
He faults the rationale behind the repeated manner in which the country’s media has continued to hype the activities of just four of the 18 parties to the detriment of the other 14 that were actively involved in the contest.
The end result of this obvious anomaly, he says, has been the unwanted blackout other parties duly registered and certified credible to run on the ballot have suffered.
“The manner in which the media have conducted it’s coverage of the 18 political parties and their activities from the time of their nominations, to debates, to campaigns and even to the collation which is ongoing, leaves much to be desired,” he said on Monday.
“I have a feeling that the media is selective, and has deliberately decided to concentrate on popularising just a few — PDP, APC, Labour and NNPP — and their candidates (Abubakar Atiku, Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso) on the wrong premise that they are more followed than the others.
“Otherwise, how come that we are only seeing just these four candidates and their results on the TV screens since the collation of the results began on Sunday?
“Let’s get something straight here. The whole concept of multi-parties is to give Nigerians that opportunity to be able to choose from a variety of options that suits their idea of a credible leader.
“But our media’s conspiracy has ensured that those choices are limited as the options have been crudely narrowed.
“I have said it before, and I am saying it again. The undisguised bias with which the country’s media continues to treat a matter as sensitive as the adequate coverage of all political parties in a presidential race is a wrong signal for our nascent democracy.
“I have tried to understand why the country’s media continues to toe this prejudicial path despite complaints that it is deliberately skewed to favour a few.
“A few ways of describing the situation has come to mind and I am tempted to call it ‘media eye service!’
Professor Imumolen would therefore call for a review of the situation with a view to critically addressing it. He believes that there are two ways to resolve the current logjam — that is, either there is a legislation to force compliance to the rules of engagement or altogether prune the number of political parties going into an electoral contest if there is a feeling in government quarters that it is presently unwieldy.
“There are two ways to solve this. Either there is a legislation making it mandatory for both the electronic and print media to accord every party equal exposure during electioneering activities or completely reduce the number to the four political parties they appear to love so much,” he added.