By Kola Animashaun
“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands.”- Oscar Wilde
Several parties are sharpening their knives with the unfurling of the hacking scandal of the News of the World and News International. There are even suggestions that the rot may have spread to other newspapers but the smear has not hit the other papers… yet.
Yes, it has been understood that journalists do not disclose their source so that they can keep the confidence of their source, to protect the informants. But the use of hacking has been bandied about, so what exactly is it? The term was originally used for a gifted programmer, who is so knowledgeable and knows how to gain access to multiple systems. Recently, it seems to have taken a negative connotation and in some countries like the United States, it’s a felony.
It is understood that hacking is done by the request of an organisation under contract and it can be ethical when authorised. It has taken a different dimension and the lines are blurred as it now becomes a means of invading someone’s privacy or property without permission and with the sole means of getting a scoop or some dirt.
It has become the given … that it is OK, as they are providing these tattle in the public interest. So why should it be an all out, which way of getting the scoop at any cost? Who is paying the piper and who dances to the tune as it seems that there has been a long standing relationship between politicians, part of the press and some parts of the police. It was said that some parts of the press bought and sold peoples’ miseries to sell papers and feeding the public on these diet.
The former prime minister,Gordon Brown told MPs the publisher had been part of a ”criminal-media nexus” and many innocent people had suffered from stories written by its newspapers.
The politicians from every side of the house seem to have wined and dined at the table of the publisher, Rupert Murdoch and in turn he had the affront to tow-tow with the movers and shakers in the country.
So now after much public outcry, the parliamentarians have crossed-party lines to declare an urgent judicial enquiry to find way and make recommendations for a better way of regulating the press which “supports their freedom, plurality and independence from government but which also demands the highest ethical and professional standards”.
The Lord Justice Leveson assisted by a panel senior independent figures to make recommendations about the future conduct of relations between politicians and the press. So far, Murdoch has refused to sacrifice the scalp of News International chief executive, Rebekah Brooks on whose watch the practice was rampant.
So who is Rebekah? You ask. Rebekah Brooks has not only conquered the macho world of tabloid journalism to become its queen but has done so with astonishing speed.
What lies behind the News International chief executive’s rise to power? This story will run and run.
Disaster Waiting to happen
The flood did untold havoc last Sunday. The governors of Lagos and Katsina were busy in salvage work and so were the governor of Oyo and Ogun states.
The flood resulted in deaths and devastations of buildings and properties. Stories say such floods had not occurred upwards of 40 years. My mind goes to those who lost their lives; to those who lost properties and those who lost their buildings. Of course to who now will have to bear the brunt of the costs of the repairs and rebuilding that they will have to do.
I know some of the places mentioned; I had been at some of the other places. Yet some of the places were very familiar. For instance, I am very familiar with Agege, Dopemu, Iganmu, Surulere,
Badiya, etc. Some of them had little or no drainage and some of them had refuse dumped in unauthorised drains. Some of the buildings that collapsed did not comply with any known building regulations.In this kind of unsanitary conditions anything can happen as we all witnessed last Sunday.
Of course, we all know about climate change and we do not prepare for it and we behave as this change does not have to do with us. Or it may never happen.
In China, in Japan, in Pakistan, in Indonesia in South and North America, we hear and witness the effect of the climate change.
They are shouting about it, and they are doing something about it. Do we expect that it would not come particularly when we cut down our trees and use them to stoke fire?.
We have abundant supply of gas and kerosene and do not know how to manage it for the good of our people. For ages, the people of the East are crying out for the devastation being caused by ecological shifts and many roads have had to be diverted. This kind of disaster, as we have just had, have a way of visiting us in geometrical proportions.
Do we want to exacerbate or reduce it or eliminate it? We will need to mind our planning laws and police them; we would have to see to our sanitary regulations. We will need to pay attention to International warning that will enhance our well-being that is Climate change.
We know that the Federal Government does make budgets for ecology. May we ask that the budget be spent for the good of the country?
We may cry for the departed souls of Nigerians, they will never return to us. What we should do now is to see that such a thing will not be repeated.
To the governors of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Katsina and such others who lost their lives and those who lost properties, I commiserate with them.