The Human Development Initiative (HDI) presented a “Trends and Analysis of Media Coverage of Impunity Issues” and called on the print media to give more front page prominence to issues of impunity so as to catch the attention of the public.
The findings in the trends and analysis of print media coverage of impunity issues between June and December 2013 was presented on behalf of HDI by Mr. Olayemi Samuel.
Mr. Samuel noted that impunity remains one of the major social problems that pervert the Nigerian polity, stating that “Conceptualizing impunity goes beyond exemption from punishment but is also linked with disregard for law or the rule of law, violation of human rights, abuse of legal-social order, deliberate disregard for due process and lack of access to effective justice delivery.”
Besides, he said, impunity is the root cause of corruption, bad governance, stupendous wastage of public funds, bribery, high-rate of crime, among others.
Mr. Samuel observed that the media plays a significant role in the dissemination of information in the quest for transparency, accountability and good governance and as such, that the functions of the media are indispensable in raising public awareness on issues that are topical as well as on national development, the aim being to galvanize people for positive social change.
He cited examples of cases of corruption and impunity reported in the recent times, including the case of Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola; Stella Oduahgate which centered on the purchase of bullet proof cars; the Apo Six Killings; the Rivers State House of Assembly political fracas; the Abdulrasheed Maina pension fraud scandal; the Femi Fani-Kayode corruption scandal; the Ejigbo torture and molestation issue, and a host of others.
Mr. Samuel suggested that the media should track more news on acts of impunity in Nigeria and discourse to galvanize public actions, saying that there should be more on reporting issues of impunity in other thematic areas besides ‘Patriotism, Civic and Ethical Responsibilities’ which got a lot of coverage.
He also recommended that the media should endeavor to continually educate the general public on the corrosive effect of impunity to development with a view to changing “I don’t care attitude” and “nothing dey happen” mentality.
Mr. Samuel stressed that more reports on impunity should be given front page prominence so as to catch the attention of the public.
Besides, he said, NGOs, CSOs, FBOs and other stakeholders should carry the media along on various activities targeted towards stopping impunity as a way of increasing public education on impunity issues.
According to him, effective and efficient mechanisms for handling of impunity cases and other social vices should be set up for prompt investigation and prosecution of perpetrators.
Mr. Samuel called on the Judiciary to ensure that the enforcement of court orders and judgments in the area of transparency, accountability and good governance is given priority.