By Akeeb Alarape, OsogboÂ
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has expressed the resolve that his administration will not be deterred in its bid to take the state to an enviable height despite the myriad of sponsored media attacks on his person and government.Â
He stated this while hosting newsmen across the state to a get-together fast-breaking dinner, tagged “Iftar with Ogbeni” at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Osogbo.Â
Aregbesola held that his government remains firm and steady to its commitment to make life more meaningful to the people even in the face of condemnations and attacks on the pages of a section of the media.Â
While describing journalism as a noble profession, he charged journalists and media practitioners to make professionalism their watchword adding that they should always be ready to verify veracities or otherwise of information at their disposal before going to the press.Â
Aregbesola added that with the remarkable decline rate of newspapers’ circulation and distribution strength in Nigeria, the only way newspaper organisation could stay afloat is their credibility.Â
He attributed the decline in the numbers of newspapers’ readers to lack of accuracy, facts and authenticity in the reportage of items in recent journalism, saying if proper gate-keeping, quality research and investigations were meticulously done, newspapers wouldn’t have lost its credibility in the society.Â
Aregbesola said, “Sunday Times in those days sold 500 thousand copies per edition in this country up until 1975 and Sunday Times was so popular that whoever was literate in Nigeria will want to read it either by borrowing it, buying it or going to the library.Â
“The circulation of all Nigeria newspaper today is less than 300 hundred thousand, so it should therefore interest us how a nation with increased population generally, have almost ten time of graduates that we had in 1975 now has the circulation figures we now have.Â It is therefore important for us to interrogate the decline in readership.
“If you ask me, closely watching the economy, the decline is as a result of credibility gap in our media publications. I want to appeal to our media people to support the course of disseminating reliable, accurate, informative and entertaining news”.Â
Aregbesola, who recounted several sponsored attacks and abuses in the media, calculated to pull down his government and discredit his person, said if truth had been meticulously given its rightful place over the years, some newspapers would not for any reason consistently malign his government unjustly.Â
According to him, “My joy tonight is that our state continues to survive inspite of the mischievous, desperate and malicious contents in some sections of the media against our government. Unfortunately, media in recent times have portrayed our government as one of the worst in the country whereas the reverse is the case.Â
“It has erroneously portrayed us as a famished state. About this time last year, it was as if heaven will fall. It was as if the entire world was collapsing in our state. What churches do normally became an opportunity to portray us as famine-stricken state. One person even went to the extent of donating his wardrobe allowance.