“Only British newspapers can compete with our weekend newspapers” – NIJ Provost

The Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Mr Gbemiga Ogunleye, has said that Nigerian newspapers are so good, that anyone would always want to read them.

He said this in an interview with Punch, noting that apart from the British media, Nigerian Media publish a lot of good and engaging stories.

When asked if the media has fulfilled its role as the fourth realm, he said, “I have no doubt about that in my mind. But for the media, former President Olusegun Obasanjo would have achieved his third term agenda. The media were critical and they spoke strongly in favour of the Constitution. The media appealed to the sense of reasoning and patriotism of the then members of the National Assembly. In fact, journalists were part of those who advised the then National Assembly to ensure that they televise live the proceedings of the legislative house at that time so that constituents would see how the people they sent there debated and voted.

“If that event was not transmitted live and the media had not shown it to people, we probably would have been in trouble. So, to that extent, I think the media are fulfilling their roles. They are holding government accountable and through their reporting, whether in terms of insurgency or kidnapping, they keep the government on their toes.”

On how far Nigerian media has gone, he said, “I’ve had the privilege of visiting many foreign countries and I would tell you that only the British newspapers compete with our weekend newspapers. There are a lot of interesting stories and I will tell you that Nigerian newspapers are very good; you want to read them. So, aside from the British newspapers, I certainly cannot say the same of maybe American and Asian newspapers.”

Talking about how Nigerian media affects development he said, “We have a plurality of views. You know it is important to have diversity in anything we do. Unlike in the past where we had just two ideas or perspectives, now we have several. Many ideas are contending. But I think it’s a great advantage that we have many media outlets, so a lot of views would be heard. I think that would help the polity.”

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