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Falana blames media for amplifying divisive rhetorics



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Activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has pilloried media practitioners across the country for contributing to the heated political climate as the 2023 elections draw closer.

Falana made this call on Thursday during a speech delivered at a Town Hall Meeting of the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Lagos.

The speech was entitled: “Liberal democracy in retreat: What can the media do?”

According to the legal luminary, the media has massively contributed to the divisive rhetorics being peddled by the elites regarding religion and restructuring.

“In the build-up to 2023, the Nigerian media is hardly setting any agenda beyond amplifying the rhetoric of the fractious political elite on restructuring, zoning, or religious divides.

“There is no debate about development going on in the media. The proof of this assertion which itself is open to debate is the style of diversity reporting in the Nigerian media.

“It is often said that the Nigerian ruling class has grossly mismanaged the nation’s diversity (which could otherwise be a source of strength and enrichment). But little is said about the unwitting contribution of the media to this crisis of diversity. Instead of identifying a murderer by his vocation or age, editors would rather identify him by his ethnic or religious affiliation in provocative headlines.

Read also: Nigerian govt attacking the media in furtherance of a third term agenda, Falana alleges

“As a lawyer, I know too well that the ethnic or religious label attached to a criminal suspect does not enhance the process of prosecution. What matters is the evidence of the crime. The faith or tongue of the suspect is never a piece of evidence,” Falana railed.

Nonetheless, he appealed to the media to avoid giving in to the machinations of political gladiators while striving to liberate Nigerians from the shackles of poverty, underdevelopment, and lack of human freedom.

The statement read, “The agenda that the media should set in the present Nigerian setting should transcend the narrow interests of political gladiators. It should be an agenda to liberate the millions of Nigerian people from the shackles of poverty, underdevelopment, and lack of human freedom.

“The media must deliberately promote political groups like The Alternative People’s Political Movement led by Professor Omotoye Olorode which insists that a new Nigeria is possible.

“The media should have an agenda that will expose the manipulation of facts and violation of the Constitution to cover up the brutalization of our people.”

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