By Shamsudeen Abubakar
The Mass Media sometimes refers to the Fourth Estate of the Realm. The term ‘Fourth Estate of the Realm’ is commonly used to designate the critical watchdog role of the media, especially the press in Democratic society. The expression refers to the concept of separation of powers, which divide the state into different branches, typically the legislature, executive and judiciary.
However, these can never be separated from Nigeria’s long walk to democracy, the role of media also reflected in section 22 of the 1999 constitution, as an institution that is charged with the responsibility to police over the fundamental objectives and direct principles of state as well as citizens fundamental human right.
The media also performs the crucial role of investigating the truth when people try to hide it and protect people against those with power.
It assesses and propagates government policies and programmes for the people to adopt, aside these duties, the media is key to the growth and stability of the country’s democracy and politics, it aligns with the 3 arms of government and keep watch in their actions and inactions on behalf of the general public.
It is also on record that, media was at the forefront of the collective fighting for Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
Regretfully, in an attempt to speak out for people, some Journalists have been arrested and imprisoned.
The return of democracy in 1999 was a victory for Nigeria, the media still owes it as duty to live up to its responsibility to ensure the stability and sustainability in the Nigeria’s democracy.
To this end, the media is expected to provide surveillance of event, interpretation of the meaning of event, socialization of Individual in to their cultural and political settings as well as entertainment.
Since agenda setting forms part of constitutional responsibilities of the media, it stands for a better position to provide a room of discussion after the election with a view to reconciling the differences that may arise among politicians during campaigns.
In addition, through the function of media as a Watchdog and get keeper of the society, it facilitate dialogue between the government and its people, this gives Journalists in a society the unique opportunity of enhancing transparency and accountability by exposing corruption, abuse of power and corporate wrong doing.
By raising citizens awareness on social issues ,the media enable the citizens to hold to the government accountable, curbing corruption and creating a forum for debate.
Most importantly, Journalists must always remain neutral, non-partisan and should avoid personal bias or sectional interest in delivering their mandate.
Those covering political happenings and campaigns, must eschew favouritism, ethnicity, prejudice and sentiment in discharge of their professional callings.
Nigerian media community, must base their reportage on truth, balance, fairness, and objectivity.
They must not subject themselves to brown envelope Journalism, where Journalists accept money or rather gift from news maker, to compromise or influence a news items.
As the mirror of the society, the media must endorse free fair and credible election by organizing debate and discussion where candidate will interact with the people.
By placing stories prospective and interpreting them, media agents ascribed meaning to information and indicate the value by which it ought to be judged.
Also by creating and sustaining political values, the mass media forms important roll for political stability and social equilibrium destabilize the polity.
As edited by Mahmud Yahaya