As 2019 election approaches, Nigerian electorates, especially Muslims, have been charged to be ethical voters by not collecting peanuts to mortgage their future, The Renaissance reports.
Prof. Lai Olurode, former National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave this charge at the launching of two Islamic books on media, written by a media practitioner and researcher, AbdulRasheed Abubakar.
The books “Media Series 3 & 4” were launched at the University of Lagos Central Mosque Hall on Saturday.
According to Olurode, who is also the Chairman Unilag Muslim Community, most of the people running Nigeria media are illiterate about Islam.
“The challenge for us is not in talking to ourselves all the time, rather reaching out to people of other religion.
“This will make them understand Islam, otherwise, we will not break any barrier,” the don said.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Lagos State chapter, Dr Qasim Akinreti expressed profound gratitude goes to the author “for his deep content analysis of the reportage of major news on Islam and Muslims in Nigeria”.
According to him, these books reopened two critical issues in the front burner of Nigerian media discourse; the large-scale accusation of Islamophobia against the media in Nigeria, and the challenge of investigative reporting skills.
“Perhaps one pathetic issue this book raises is the reoccurring need for strategies to counter the narratives in the media space by Muslims.
“However, we Muslims must ask ourselves why we are not using the platforms created by the mainstream media like the Guardian, Vanguard, Daily Independent and New Telegraph newspapers on Thursday and the Friday columns.
“I recommend this book as a must-read for religious organisations, media practitioners and students of Mass Communication.
“This book should be on the reading lists of books on “Specialised Reporting” in Journalism schools,” Akinreti said.
Also speaking, the Executive Chairman, MPAC Nigeria, Disu Kamor, said that without a doubt, the books were the most thorough and comprehensive work he had read on the subject.
“It shows the author has a special acumen for writing, a good grasp of the subject and an ample dose of discipline and purpose.
“I have no doubt that this important serialised work will make an indelible mark on efforts towards understanding the role the media plays in pushing and moulding public perceptions of Islam and Muslims in Nigeria, and how the media, or a section of it, is actually agenda-driven.
“The entire series, read together or in parts, will also show clearly and conclusively to the Muslims the urgent need for media ownership, as well as the fact that the media war against Islam and Muslims in Nigeria has indeed matured.
“Such a work could not have come at a better time than now, and anyone who cares about building a fair, just, and inclusive society should read it.
“On the whole, this book is a stunning masterpiece with all the important information you need to see how the media functions and the bigger picture of media bias against Muslims in Nigeria,” Kamor said.
Prof. Taofeeq AbdulAzeez from the University of Abuja, who reviewed the first book, said the book was an interrogation of the narratives of tragic events in Nigeria as orchestrated attacks on Islam and Muslims.
“This commendable work chronicles some of the most ruthless of such pragmatic attacks, which are foregrounded in terms of threats and actions of Ideological Discursive Formation.
“In all these, over-reportage, sensationalisation and hateful stereotyping and spotlighting of depressing news about the Muslims are foregrounded and lamented.
“In the same vein, the book, sadly, protests under-reportage, gate-keeping and agenda-setting against Muslims’ predicaments, even in the hands of the stereotyped Muslim “jihadists”, and complete media black-out on the merits, successes and strides of Muslims in the Commonwealth.
“The book is, therefore, a protest against both the enemies of Islam and Muslims and the nonchalant Muslims, who are naturally so due to ignorance, poverty and their concomitant conflicts.
“The Author is a committed, promising and certainly brilliant young man who needs all the encouragement and patronage as one of the foot soldiers on the media theatre, and a veritable hope of the Ummah,” AbdulAzeez said.
Prof. Abdulrazaq Kilani of Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, who reviewed the second book, titled: “Islam and Modern Vices: Issues and Concerns in the News” remarked that the concept of Justice resonated all over the book.
Kelani, who was represented by Ustadh Waress Solanke of the Voice of Nigeria, said Justice was the pillar upon which human society is established and when it is absent, the society is riddled with corruption and oppression.
“The situation becomes chaotic when various institutions that lead to attainments of justice like the police, the judiciary, legal officers and even the media become corrupt and the people resort to self-help and jungle justice.
“The focus of the book is on modern vices as reported in the media, from the Islamic perspective.
“The media both print and electronic media and the now ubiquitous social media are all awash with stories of vices everywhere around us.
“The intervention of the author with this book is to make a proper Islamic appraisal of the worrisome involvement of religious institutions and functionaries in such modern vices,” Kilani said.
The don said that media “should demonstrate professionalism by reporting with accuracy and truthfulness”.
Quoting from the Glorious Qur’an, the don said that Allah addressed Muslims saying: “O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards, you become regretful to what you have done”.
“They should practise factual reporting as espoused in Qur’an 49:12: O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicion is a sin.
“And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it. And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.
“These are what Islam considers as the canon of journalism, as jaundiced journalism indeed exacerbates the crises in our country.”
By our correspondent
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