Nigerian media, stop ruining LGBTI lives with biased coverage

NoStrings, the publisher of podcasts and articles providing a voice for LGBTI Nigerians, has spoken out against the typically shoddy and homophobic coverage of LGBTI news by Nigerian journalists.  This is the statement from NoStrings:

On behalf of LGBTI Nigerians, NoStrings condemns the unprofessional and unethical journalistic methods used by the Nigerian mainstream media in its reporting on LGBTI issues in the country.

Lives are being destroyed every day by bad journalistic articles, often written with little or no research and filled with wrong terminology and demeaning words aimed at further tarnishing the image of LGBTI persons.

It seems that Nigerian media are not particularly concerned with professionalism but with the business of crushing lives just to pull traffic to their platforms and generate revenues.

If this trend continues, there are dark days ahead for all of us. We urge all those who are involved to desist, go back to the drawing board, and research the proper role of the media.

The media should deliver accurate, factual and well-investigated reports, vested in truth and objectivity. We are deeply pained that today’s media lacks all these, and its practices are the opposite.

The media should represent multiple viewpoints

Arrest coverage by The News, based in Lagos, Nigeria.
Arrest coverage by The News, based in Lagos, Nigeria.

The media owes its audience a well-researched and accurate report, which will allow the audience to draw in their own conclusions. But at present, for example, consider the reportage by The News Nigeria on six allegedly gay men who were arrested in Benin. The paper with its headline, portrayed the suspects as guilty. This they did with the headline “Nigerian police arrest six ‘abominable’ homosexuals.”

The media should respect privacy and cause no harm

Coverage by Buzz Nigeria.
Coverage of Chidinma Okeke by Buzz Nigeria.

This is in line with Section 37 of the Nigerian constitution, which states “The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”

Publishing the names, pictures, videos and audio materials of individuals in articles, especially in an exploitative manner, is also a breach of this section of the law. An example of this is the recent article published about the 2015 winner of the Miss Anambra competition, Chidinma Okeke, who was scandalously alleged to have engaged in acts of lesbianism.

The media should give voice to the voiceless

It is a shame that the Nigerian media fail to take into account the reality that LGBTI persons are in the minority. That’s even though Nigerian society wants to remain in denial that LGBTI persons exist and that their rights need to be respected.

Many Nigerians lack any understanding of what it means to be LGBT. It is therefore the role of the media to educate Nigerians by accurately reporting on LGBTI issues. The media must be objective and only present facts that are true.

Articles cited:

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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