I am constrained to make this an open letter to you for a number of reasons:
One, this is the holy month of Ramadan when everywhere in the world Muslims fasted from sunrise to sunset.
Two, your corporation does not have a website or social media handle as customary to many media organisations all over the world, where one can raise issues such as this.
Three, the current situation dictates someone should stand up and highlight these issues as it affects Muslims in Ekiti State and shed light into great injustice meted out to Muslims.
For Muslims the month of Ramadan is a blessed month when the body and soul make many sacrifices and Muslims complete this beautiful month with great gains. For instance, they work to fortify bonds of brotherhood by preparing iftar (breaking of the fast) meals and inviting friends, family and neighbours. During Ramadan it is important that God is much remembered and given thanks to by increasing love and devotion for God in people’s hearts like this, Muslims hope to gain God’s pleasure by praying five times a day, fasting and giving alms are all compulsory obligations.
This period in better sphere and climes, where religious understanding thrives is also characterized by the corporate organizations, government and individuals of other faiths making concessions to accommodate the special needs of Muslims during Ramadan. This period is further characterized with most media house increasing Islamic contents in their production. Whether sponsored or not, it’s a social norm, part of corporate responsibility of media houses to ensure that Muslims not only fasted in an environment they will deem spiritually friendly to their faith but also that will make non Muslims understand the spiritual value of the holy month of Ramadan.
Overtime we have realized that media houses in Ekiti State especially the state owned media house lack such ethics and professionalism as to live above religious sentiment and partisan when it come to issues related to Islam. Even before Rahmadan it’s on record how limited and insignificant Islamic content is in the daily broadcast of both the EkitiFM and Ekiti Television and how irrelevant the few contents used are to Muslims living in the state. Even on Juma’at (Friday) Muslims have learnt to live with gospel music blaring from their TV and radio. There is nothing wrong with broadcasting gospel music on a Friday if Quranic recitation can be broadcasted on a Sunday.
This unprofessional attitude of Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) does not preach the much needed religious understanding we seek in our communities, it’s a total lack of respect for Muslims and call into question the professionalism of the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES).
We have noted the different guise under which these channels (EKTV and Ekiti FM) perpetuate their uncanny act against Muslims. This includes the preference to use contents such as documentaries that are decades old and of no moral, educational or entertainment significance to the public, than to use Islamic tapes, also the use of hip hop and social musicals rather than the use of Islam themed contents.
We know and have seen the frenzy with which Christian related content is used on Sundays and during Lent. It’s however very saddening how one can hardly differentiate between a Friday and any other day of the week. Like I said earlier these act whether intentional or not are not new to Muslims in Ekiti State, what is new is the acceptance of such uncanny act by Muslims in the State.
Its time various Muslim groups in the state rise up and make an empathic statement. We are not asking for favors, as citizens of Ekiti State, we have equal right and privilege as any other religious groups in the State. It’s time we act. It’s time Muslim leaders, groups and Muslim media practitioners address this act of injustice. What I often asked is that do Muslims in Ekiti visit other states during the month of Ramadan and see what is obtainable there? Many of our Muslim friends from other states often asked if there are Muslims who are indigene of Ekiti State?
Lastly, we are calling on Ekiti State Broadcasting Corporation to review her policies as related to broadcast and equal representation of all faiths. The bias and affinity of your programme and broadcast is very obvious to all. It’s essential to be balance in all facet of the job. That Muslims are quiet about this doesn’t mean you should ignore your ethical and professional responsibility.
Abd Fatah Tolulope Alabi