In further defense of the editors, it also posted right at the bottom of the piece, like it always does, that the opinion shared in every opinion piece is not necessary that of Ynaija. In short, retweets are not endorsements.
Is it not a bit narcissistic to believe that my analysis or opinion should matter to those who lead this country? I am not sure of the right answer but I do know that I write because I do it relatively well and it is my way of contributing to the country of my birth. It is uncomfortable too, to write, to put your views into the public arena so that it may be judged, sometimes harshly. However, I write these columns because I believe that the great role of journalism, actually the civil society in general, is to search the society and inform citizens so that they may find the courage and tools to change their lives. The role of a journalist and that of a journalistic platform is to do their due diligence, gather information both in the public domain and out of it, and present these to the general public in an accessible way so that the public may choose or not to take actions that will change their lives. This is our role and we have been entrusted with this great responsibility.
So when ynaija.com published that infamous article that rape is a compulsion felt by all men and solely caused by scantily dressed women, I was shocked, outraged and frankly disappointed. The editors of the magazine claim that it is not their role to police thoughts and that the goal of their platform is to allow for equal expression. They have also called those who think differently on rape to present their rebuttals on the same platform. In further defense of the editors, it also posted right at the bottom of the piece, like it always does, that the opinion shared in every opinion piece is not necessary that of Ynaija. In short, retweets are not endorsements. Or better yet, allowing bizarre opinions on its platform are not an endorsement of such opinions, this piece very much included.
There is also the idea that Kenechi Uzochukwu’s piece expresses an idea very much in the public domain that many progressive folks refuse to acknowledge or confront. After all, what is hidden remains hidden and only public airing, followed by respectful and factual rebuttals will do more to actually change minds than sanctioning thoughts and refusing to allow certain opinions be put into the public domain. Transparency is a disinfectant and many Nigerian minds, according to this school of thought, need to be disinfected on rape and its causes.
I will not bother to refute Mr. Uzochukwu’s opinion; many others have, quite eloquently here and here. What strikes me as interesting is that there is a line that a public information institution must toe between its responsibility to protect victims and the requirement for liberality and freedom of expression. So where is the line? Did Ynaija cross it this week?
The piece in question did not give any new information. It did not objectively or factually present its idea, after all a relatively cursory review of Saudi Arabia and Iran’s incidence of rape would have dissuaded that opinion instantly. It was not even written particularly well either, removing any potential justification based on the protection of the arts. The opinion was neither controversial nor was it interesting. It was a badly written, factually incorrect, and hurtful piece on a subject deserving of the utmost restraint and care. The article did not inform and it would not make any Nigerian life better. Most of those who read it are worse of than they were before reading it and the writer seems to agree.
In the end, I believe that this was not useful and that this otherwise valuable platform for young Nigerians might have erred this time.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.