Media practitioners have been urged to engage the anticorruption fight by consciously investigating stories with the need to unravel corrupt practice and inspire the society to demand for accountability and justice.
Speaking on DoroCorruption radio program by Say No Campaign, the veteran journalist, Austin Agbonsuremi, spoke on the challenges faced by the media practitioners in advancing the anticorruption fight. Especially in the quality of stories reported. He noted that media practitioners have a lot to do in exposing grand corruption and pressurizing the system to ensure accountability and justice. However, this role remains threatened by the unethical practices of the brown envelop syndrome and media ownership interest.
According to him, the crave for ‘brown envelope’ or kickbacks by journalists have adversely affected the quality and integrity of stories reported. The zeal to unravel truth through aggressive investigative journalism and consciously move the society towards positive change has been dampened because most journalists are lazy and have become compromised because of their favourable disposition to brown envelop.
While he acknowledged that poor salary structure and economic hardship that has plagued the country for decades, worsening the demand for brown envelope, has adversely affected the ability of journalists to positively influence society with their stories, interferences by public officials who are major investors in media houses are real impediments to the credibility of stories reported and the exposure of corruption. According to him, the personal interests of these controllers of the media spaces will always override public good, stories will be killed in favour of the donor.
Hence, he admonished Nigerian Journalists to adopt international best practices of freelancing, a system of selling well investigated and credible news stories to media houses willing to break the news. He added that Journalists should not feel limited by the house policies guiding the operations of the media houses they are employed with, but rather, pick up leads and thoroughly investigate stories that will be bought by daring media houses committed to making the difference and breaking the stories.
He further called on Journalists to commit to the anticorruption fight and make it a mission to break stories that make all the difference.