By Dennis Agbo
A Nigerian-American Journalist, Chika Oduah has warned Nigerians to avoid engaging in poor journalism when she said breeds poor governance and underdevelopment.
She also noted that journalism would remain undeveloped in Nigeria because of media ownership pattern and poor salary structure of practising journalists.
Oduah spoke in Enugu during a-four day capacity training for youths drawn from the five states of the southeast.
The event was put together by the South Saharan Social Development Organization, SSSDO, to build their capacity in storytelling of situations around their environment so as to attract government support and attention to the issues.
Oduah, an Investigative Journalist stated that Journalists in Nigeria were ready to deploy their skills on critical reports that could promote governance and wellbeing of the country, but that lack of encouragement and poor salary structure had hindered their drive.
She said: “Journalists in this country are not being properly paid. It is actually a human rights issue because when you are doing work, you have to be paid for it. The people here don’t receive good payment and even when they are paid; it is nothing to talk about.
“It is meagre and sometimes, it makes journalists seek funding from where they should not. So if you are not being paid you are going to look for funding elsewhere.
“They are not motivated, the morale is low; they don’t go extra mile to tell the story because they are not being paid. So lack of payment affects enthusiasm and hence it is not volunteer work, one should be paid very well.
“The other thing I have observed here is the ownership pattern. There is no way journalism can be used to further the growth of this country when majority of the leading media in the country is owned by politicians. This is not the case elsewhere. When politicians are the ones that own the media, it means that independence is compromised.
“In other countries, that is not the case. I report in several countries and I know the level of independence that the media have always enjoyed. These are the challenges that we must try to correct. You cannot fight a bad system the way the media have been and that is why bad governance has continued to thrive”.
Oduah advised that Universities should improve their training of Journalists, explaining that the four-day exercise with youths of the southeast was also to “equip them with journalistic skills to be able to do beautiful radio programmes that are engaging so as to help the society to move forward”.
SSSDO Communications Officer, Mrs Gloria Favour said the programme, tagged, “Awakening the youth” was to enable them make the youths more engaging and hold their leaders accountable in the area of good governance in the society.
She said that after the training, reports generated by the youths on governance from the different communities would be aggregated and presented to the state governments as a way of calling their attention to the welfare of the people.