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Unprofessional and unethical journalism By Francis B.
Nyamnjoh In the name of freedom The current democratic process in West Africa has brought with it not only multipartyism, but also a sort of media pluralism. In almost every country the number of private newspapers increased dramatically with the clamour for more representative forms of democracy in the early s.
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Some countries have also opened up the airwaves while others are still lagging behind. The fact that since independence African governments largely resisted private initiative in the area of broadcasting and waited till the pro-democracy clamours of the s even to contemplate weakening their radio and television monopoly is but a logical continuation of their colonial heritage.
So it is significant that the clamour for democracy across the continent has led some governments to concede to demands by international broadcasters such as the BBC, RFI and Africa N 1, as well as by private investors, to set up FM transmitters within their territories [ Bouhafa, West Africa has experienced a boom in private, local or commercial radio stations, with more than 72 new stations starting up in less than five years.
The majority of these stations are rural, and almost three quarters of them are in Burkina Faso and Mali with 11 in Bamako alone. Thus instead of seeking to curb intolerance, fanaticism or extremism of all kinds, some of these media have actually fuelled them.
Examples abound of newspapers in Senegal, [ Ndao, In Mali, for example, the press exacerbated ethnic tensions and conflicts in the North, encouraged striking students to paralyse the education system for three years, and sections of it allowed themselves to be manipulated by "certain leaders of the opposition As Nga Ndongo [ Indeed, it was very difficult to find a neutral paper, and rare exceptions like Dikalo, which attempted neutrality, were not taken seriously either way.
This polarisation in the media corresponded to a similar polarisation in the wider society, where people had lost patience with cold-headed analysis and public interests were marginalized by partisan goals.
It was a case of much talking without listening and of exaggerated self-righteousness on the part of most journalists. In the current democratic process, West African journalists both official and private have been accused of professional impropriety, not only by government and other prominent political actors, but also by the general public and even by fellow professionals at home and abroad.
A veteran journalist summed up this new trend of journalism in Sierra Leone thus: Most of them are today partisan and, as such, have fixed ideas that hardly accommodate the views of others.
Fellow [page-number of print ed.: The private press is seen as leaning "too overtly towards commentary and opinion. The press has also been accused, and rightly so, of sensationalism and of frightening rather than reassuring its readership.
Like Zachee Nzoh-Ngandembou, a one time journalist, observes, "In Cameroon every newspaper you read frightens you.
It predicts doom and prescribes hellfire. This should not be the case, and nothing in the profession justifies the use of indecent language. And journalists should [page-number of print ed.: Newspapers are known to be sponsored by some individuals or interest groups to blackmail certain institutions, individuals, or interest groups.
It is therefore a sort of random survey of public attitudes to a current affair or any issue on which public views are deemed important.The national upheaval of secession was a grim reality at Abraham Lincoln's inauguration.
Jefferson Davis had been inaugurated as the President of the Confederacy two weeks earlier. The New York Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators will host its 49th Annual Convention from March 11th through March 14th, at the Villa Roma Resort and Conference Center.
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The national upheaval of secession was a grim reality at Abraham Lincoln's inauguration. Jefferson Davis had been inaugurated as the President of the Confederacy two weeks earlier.