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Of trumpet blowers and grave diggers

Of trumpet blowers and grave diggers

As a journalist, I am often amazed at the brazen manner other journalists have developed the propensity to blemish on the one hand and unnecessarily decorate public figures on the other.  (Photo: Adeyemi Paul)

Never in my journalistic career have I witnessed the sudden transformation than now, with journalists taking advantage of their position in society to unleash what is commonly referred to as ‘gutter language’ or a volley of attacks aimed at ‘paralyzing’ or ‘killing’ their victims without bloodshed.

The weapons used are simple: words, words that are sharp like a razor, stings like a scorpion, nauseating and very unpalatable!

These publications are essentially driven by hate, but more so by the insatiable desire to make money at all costs. Ten years on following the end of the rebel war the local media is yet to reconcile with present realities. It is like the past is still haunting the institution. This is conspicuously blatant with the print.

By the look of things it seems the media is losing grip of professional ethics. Issues are shelved while the focus is on the personality. Facts which should be sacred to our profession are sacrificed on the altar of falsehood. Such journalists do not care about the truth. They do not care about issues; their focus is on the personality.  They are deliberately blind to the realities of the moment

These are the ‘collect and attack’ or ‘attack and collect’ guys, the other aspect of our job. This is how some of our colleagues have become professional grave-diggers – they dig their graves and wait for the unsuspecting victim to tumble over them. The victim is either buried alive or some remote rescue mission is deployed to save the victim from imminent death, that is, only after some massive dose of injectable Leones or Dollars have been dispensed with to neutralize the ‘mission’.

I am sure the Independent Media Commission (IMC) understands my metaphorical discourse. And I am sure the IMC must be overwhelmed by complaints from the victims over publications that largely impinge on their personality. Unfortunately though, the IMC has been severally accused of being inept in the handling of these complaints. Some members of the public say the IMC is either scared of these ‘attackers’ or is simply incapable of taking decisive action thereby letting loose the grave diggers on society, causing irreparable damage to innocent citizens.

Mind you, they will one day dig their own graves if they allow them to thrive on character assignation or falsehood.

So far so good for the grave diggers.

What about the trumpet blowers? Call them sycophants or elbow greasers. They abound in our society.  Every day one reads a newspaper one is bound to see one sycophantic headline, praising where praise is not deserved. This is particularly common with pro-government newspapers where politicians have been vainly glorified to appear like saints or idols.

Indeed, any journalist worth his/her salt cannot just indulge in praise-singing except where the motive is propaganda or deliberate misinformation, which is unethical.

When they do their praise-singing they think every body in society is damn stupid. They never at one moment believe that they are idolizing human beings who are fallible, they can err. They can make wrong judgments. But for the sycophants even wrong decisions are praise worthy.

The Sierra Leone scenario is so peculiar that even when people are complaining of hardship, the praise-singers have a way to atone the bitter feelings in people. ‘After all it is not Sierra Leone alone that is experiencing hard times’, the elbow greasers will say in reaction to public resentment.

For instance some journalists or newspapers have almost transformed President Ernest Bai Koroma into an idol or saint: the man who never does any wrong or make a mistake. That brand of journalism does not inspire good leadership in a country. It does not promote good governance. Good governance is about listening to the other side and having the courage to face criticism. That way we will be able to sustain transparent and accountable leadership. But where it is praise all the way, then we begin to groom a dictatorship that becomes impervious to opposing views.

And dare you say a word or comment contrary to the thinking of the bootlickers about their idol, hell will let loose on earth.

Is that good journalism? Does it promote development in the country?

It will serve this nation more good than harm if the trumpet blowers will divert their focus a bit towards developmental issues and stop idolizing. The people are no fools.

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