A professor of Pragmatics and Applied Linguistics, and the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of Ahman Pategi University (APU), Pategi, Kwara State, Mahfouz Adebola Adedimeji, has identified media as a powerful tool that cannot be ignored by serious-minded people.
Professor Mahfouz made this remark at the 2nd National Conference & Awards Ceremony of the Muslim media Watch Group of Nigeria on Saturday 13th May, 2023 at the FOMWAN Hall, Fate Road, Opposite SHOPRITE, Ilorin, Kwara State.
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to reposition its media space for peace and prosperity.
The vice-chancellor, who spoke on the theme: “Redefining The Media Space For Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Prosperity”, argued that prosperity is not only about economic success, but also socio-economic wealth, which is becoming increasingly fragile in Nigeria and around the world.
“In the age of information, paying no attention to the media can be suicidal, as nothing goes faster than lack of information. However, the rise of misinformation, particularly through social media, has led to an infodemic that is destroying the moral and social fabric of modern society,” he said.
The speaker noted that repositioning the media is crucial for Nigeria as the consequences of using media to inflame passions have been seen, citing the example of the EndSARS protests of 2020.
“In that instance, the media played a crucial role in mobilizing the youth to protest police brutality, but the result was extrajudicial killings, looting, and other forms of violence,” he said.
He stated further that “The media is traditionally framed as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, but has now also become digital, with online newspapers, broadcasts, and internet-based channels.
The speaker cited a thought-provoking and comprehensive definition of the media, which includes seeing beyond our immediate surroundings, conveying information, interactive communication, and providing instructions and directions, among other functions.
Prof Mahfouz concluded that the media needs to be refined in the interest of the stakeholders and the public, so that there will be trust.
He also called on journalists to embrace multimedia and innovative ways to attract audiences.
“Repositioning the media will serve the interests of the nation, not just the private pockets of media entrepreneurs and employees.
“The media should provide positive instructions and useful directions, and avoid bias towards donors and corporate interests.
“The media should also reflect the achievements and failures of governments and society as a whole. Repositioning the media will be an important step towards achieving peace and prosperity in Nigeria,” Mahfouz said.
Delivering the opening remarks, the national coordinator of the Muslim Media Watch group, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the aims and objectives of the group are to promote quality broadcast in media organizations all over the country, to encourage fair play, justice and equity in airing religious programs, and to ensure transparent balancing in news coverage among all faith practices in Nigeria.
Alh Ibrahim emphasized that group is committed to discouraging the use of obscene materials both in the electronic and print media to increase the moral values of our youth in particular and the entire people of the country in general.
The national coordinator reiterated that the group is working to correct the misinterpretation of Islam and Muslims in many media by putting in the correct, accurate and true picture of issues at stake in the right perspectives for the benefit of viewers, listeners and readers.
“I, therefore, seize the opportunity of this conference to call on all young journalists in Nigeria and their leaders, some of whom are present here today, to open a new chapter by establishing branches of the Muslim Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria in various states of the Federation for the benefit of Islam and the Muslim,” he urged the gathering.
“This will promote Islamic brotherhood in the profession and enhance the good image of Islam as publicizing Islamic activities and programs is regarded as their essential duty,” he added.
The Chairman of the event, Dr. Wale Adul-Rauf Babalakin SAN, represented by Mohamed Yassin Abdulmumin, a senior associate in the law firm of Babalakin, urged all Muslims to exemplify the moral uprightness of Islam and to attract people to the faith with their exemplary character and attitude.
According to the chairman, there can be no development without the media being a strong partner.
He added that Islam provides values of truth, justice and fairness that should be reflected in the media so that development can be achieved.
He commended the members of the group for their good work in ensuring balanced and fair media reporting.
The executive governor of Kwara State, mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, represented by the senior assistant of Islamic Religion, Mallam Abdullahi Maigoro, noted that the challenges and issues facing the industry in Nigeria, including patterns of ownership, political pressure, propaganda, professional incompetence, and the influence of social media are enormous.
The governor emphasized the need to prioritize the welfare of journalists and develop policies to regulate the space.
The event was graced by cream de la cream from all walks of life in society including His Royal Highness Alhaji Dr. Ibrahim Sulu Gambari CFR.