The World Press Freedom day, marked on the 3rd of May is a day regarded as a Christmas of a sort in media circles, a day that cannot be described as languid by any reasonable person for obvious reasons.
The major challenge to freedom of expression over the years has been known to be government interferance; censorship, makes me wonder what they are afraid of - talk of skeletons in the closet.
Cultural diversity is another challenge that is not new to press freedom, but recently, machiavelism has proved to be a subtle enemy that has beleagered our society in a crypitic way.
"I may disagree with what you have to say but i shall defend, to the death, your right to say it", the philosopher Voltaire wrote in the 18th century. This statement underscores one of the basic conditions for a free society where people from different backgrounds can live together. Our world has developed a lot since Volaire wrote his famous sentence. Due to globalisation, the world is becoming smaller and more accessible. The political culture in which freedom of expression is granted and protected has been shaped over centuries.
Nowadays, I can hardly avoid the daily news updates on bombings and terror especially against media estalishments. It makes me wonder, what about the situation in the global market place of ideas?
Even illitrates know that diversity is absolutely essential. If you formulate your opinion on a broad range of information, your own view will only become strong, different perspectives will broaden your horizon whether you agree with them or not. So where is Boko Haram (jihadist terrorist organization based in the north of Nigeria) coming from, why are they still faceless. Nigerians no longer blame the senceless killings to bigotry, whether religious or ethinic, it's gone farther than that.
How free can the Nigerian press be? Machiavellism is a theory that prescribes getting result by all means, it says that the end will justify the means, it means manipulating people diplomatically so that they could be "suffering and smiling".
3rd of may , I heard in the news that President Jonathan has denied accusation made by Henry Orka, who is standing trial in a South African court for terrorism against Nigeria, Orka had accused Jonathan of masterminding the terrorist attacks as a desperate political move, whether this is the rantings of a drowning man, is yet to be seen, but this smoke is surely emanating from somewhere, what I don't know is if there is fire to it. Boko haram has gone berserk on civilians, while the leaders are stiff and stoic, or should I say bland.
Trust, they say is a social capital which can be converted to human and financial capital in a progressive society, so you see why the arm of our clock is reading backward. Whatever the case, powers that be must know that freedom of speech is directly connected to the right to have acces to knowledge, people that are denied this, get denied of one of the most basic human rights, so, I submit that we leave the press out of this cryptic agenda, if protection cannot be guaranteed.
So how many boxes belong to your culture and how many boxes do you need to put your culture in? Does it all need to make sense? Always? I don't know how to dance katanga...
Obinna, Loesje Nigeria