Subject: Journalism, power and Mu’azu Magaji Dansarauniya – By: . .
I read in disbelief the Monday Chronicle on the last page of Daily Trust by Suleiman A. Suleiman with the caption above in which he dismissed ethical issues in the journalism profession and blamed individuals for cherishing their basic rights whether or not they are in positions of power.
I write this reply to the article for the fact that, firstly, the author has attempted to equate the search for justice from a violation of fundamental rights with an abuse of power, and secondly, identifying the defamation of personality as a serious matter, which he ended up minimizing in the case of a person in a position of power.
Let me clarify that, just as the writer said, Magaji’s arrest by the police has nothing to do with his participation in the Daily Politics, nor with Dansarauniya criticizing the governor of the Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, he also has no political skirmish with the Governor.
As a politician serving his second and final term, Ganduje has critics just as he has supporters. Even if the writer considers Magaji as such, how many of his political enemies did Ganduje influence in their arrest? That’s why I don’t see how Magaji is a thorn in Ganduje’s flesh. In fact, Kano enjoys the most free environment for expression of opinion in the media, both on mainstream media platforms and on social media.
The governor has taken the case to court to seek justice over the alleged social media posting by Magaji, which is seen as an attack on the peace, an intentional insult and defamation of his personality. The governor’s legal team identified the photo allegedly released by Magaji as depicting Ganduje as an immoral and impious man in an extramarital affair with a strange woman whose face appeared in the photo and was widely circulated by the suspect (Magaji) on several social media platforms. .
I don’t see anything wrong with what the governor did. In fact, it’s the right thing to do for any law-abiding citizen. Posting a photo of an individual in this kind of situation is in no way criticism, if at all, is what the writer was trying to suggest, but it is a crime punishable under the Penal Code Nigerian.
Evidence abounds of how high-ranking individuals seek redress in court for cases of intentional insult and defamation of character, including of course President Muhammadu Buhari, who, according to the writer, did not care people he knew couldn’t stand up to him in anyway.
I give examples: in Kano, a former governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, had a legal battle with engineer Hamisu Lambu (late) who published and circulated a poster depicting the governor as having an extramarital affair with one of his wives before their marriage. . He confessed to the crime and made it known that his intention was to tarnish the image of the governor who was then a candidate for re-election.
There was also a journalist working in Kano who was taken to court by the former governor for publishing an article about a similar case of extra-marital affair.
In addition, the Katsina State Police Command arrested a 75-year-old man, Lawal Abdullahi commonly known as Izala, and a Bahajeje Abu for “insulting” President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Aminu Bello Masari of the state. Katsina State on Social Media. The action is considered a “grave” offense in the Nigerian constitution, particularly under the Penal Code.
Another man, who identified himself as Usman Mohammed, was arrested and brought to trial for “insulting” President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State.
I don’t understand how Ganduje should be an exception. After all, Magaji is not a loser. By virtue of his position, he should have known the seriousness of his action.
Until when are we going to allow this kind of thing to continue to tarnish the image of our noble profession?
If the writer believes that the Magaji he has identified a “weaker opponent” has the right to make such a representation, why does he think that Ganduje has no right to protect his image; whether as an individual or as a public servant?
Magaji used the free passage of all trash offered by accessible social media to circulate that trash and get away with it.
Another thing is how the writer tried to compare the issue with our noble profession. It’s very unfortunate. Magaji is not, after all, a journalist. And even if he is, it’s unprofessional to support him to smear anyone’s image. As a journalist, I did not expect the writer to be able to encourage violation of the code and ethics of the journalism profession, especially now that with the advent of social media, all kinds of people profess to be journalists.
Let the writer put himself in Ganduje’s place. How would he feel about such an act of tilting? How do you think your family would react to it? Ganduje has a family: wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren, parents, friends, supporters and a reputation to protect. It’s not about occupying a position of power, it’s about protecting your hard-earned image.
By Mohammad Garbathe Information Commissioner, Kano State