Apr. 15, 2013
by Lekan Abayomi
NewsRescue- It’s all over the news now. MEND terrorists in south Nigeria promise to start a bombing campaign against Muslims by May 31st. NewsRescue received this bit of information, but after our usual round-house email consultation, as with similar advertisements for terrorists, we decided not to publish.
Unfortunately, other media houses in Nigeria and indeed abroad, as bloomberg among others took part in the crime, eager to gain reads, attention, relevance and ad money, quickly published this cheap advertisement message from a self acclaimed terrorist.
This is the sad and death bringing state of journalism in Nigeria. And the government of Nigeria is wholly to blame for the hopelessness of our journalism as with all other institutions in Nigeria because as was released yesterday, while cutting for themselves the largest earning checks in the world – with Nigerian law-makers earning N24m/$180,000 per month – with their pockets laden with the peoples money, they fail to take care of the business of running the state, including correcting deadly media practices like this. This is why we say – the government along with the media are the worst terrorists in Nigeria.
In January 2012, NewsRescue published “Stop Giving Boko Haram Media Coverage!” It was a desperate call and cry for the media to stop being free advertisement tools of terror. Terrorist groups rely on media press. Their carnage and their publications are useless if no one knows about them. These people have very “small balls,” and the attention they get is what fuels their murder. In effect, the media fuels the crime and leads to deaths.
This is most effective when the media releases their press releases without insulting them and calling them what they are,- mad, worthless terrorists. In the recent MEND terrorist advertisement, which the Nigerian media and indeed foreign media were happy to advertise for them for free, Jomo, the announcer had his publication submitted as is, without him being called a hopeless, worthless piece of trash, seeking attention and relevance as is obvious.
In effect the media are no longer tools of concerted, intelligent public information, but they are merely, rating and ad clicks seeking hounds, desperate for anything that will give them extra views. This desperation for publicity is a shared trait with terrorists. It is true that Nigeria’s media has even been caught in several instances, creating terror stories from scratch to get attention, or manipulating and spicing up incidents with inflation of the horror and death count, as this clearly feeds their sense and need for relevance. Media agencies like DesertHerald have been found exclusively advertising and promoting the launch of re-brandings of the out of favor Boko Haram. In one such release, carried subsequently by other media, DesertHerald actually justified the terrorists position by claiming that the “SARS,” government security department attacked was “worse than the Boko Haram terrorists.”
This is behavior by the media is frank terror.
According to Raphael F. Perl, Specialist in International Affairs Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division, Congressional Research Service:
Terrorists need publicity, usually free publicity that a group could normally not afford or buy. Any publicity surrounding a terrorist act alerts the world that a problem exists that cannot be ignored and must be addressed. From a terrorist perspective, an unedited interview with a major figure is a treasured prize. … They seek a favorable understanding of their cause, if not their act. … Legitimacy. Terrorist causes want the press to give legitimacy to what is often portrayed as ideological or personality feuds or divisions between armed groups and political wings.
In addition, they want information from the media about government operations against them and for media releases to help them in damaging their enemy, the security services.
Perl’s analysis goes on to describe what the government need from the media. These include:
They want coverage to advance their agenda and not that of the terrorist. From their perspective, the media should support government courses of action when operations are under way and disseminate government provided information when requested. This includes understanding of policy objectives, or at least a balanced presentation, e.g., why governments may seek to mediate, yet not give in to terrorist demands.
An important goal is to separate the terrorist from the media–to deny the terrorist a platform unless to do so is likely to contribute to his imminent defeat.
Another goal is to have the media present terrorists as criminals and avoid glamorizing them; to foster the viewpoint that kidnapping a prominent person, blowing up a building, or hijacking an airplane is a criminal act regardless of the terrorists’ cause.
The government additionally needs the media to inform them of terror information and suspicious actions, for the media to boost the image of government agencies and for the media to be careful about disinformation from terrorist allies, sympathizers, or others who gain from its broadcast and publication. Broadcasting highly sensitive, sympathy provoking news is also deleterious as it forces the government to make concessions, according to Perl. The complete, most essential and detailed article can be read here: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/crs-terror.htm
Following the NewsRescue publication on this serious problem, last January, the Inspector General of Police made a similar serious call in April
Stop giving Boko Haram cheap publicity, IGP tell journalists
Sunday, 22 April 2012 18:46
From Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, Abeokuta, PeoplesDaily
Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar has identified media coverage being given to the Boko Haram sect as motivational factor for the group to see themselves as relevant, and therefore passionately appealed to journalists to henceforth stop giving them such publicity.
Sadly, this fell on deaf, or dead ears. In the United States, when Osama used to make publications, only a few got announced by US media, only after they had made several rounds over the net in local media and had as such merited clarification and discussion by US media. And when these were finally made by US media, they always clearly labelled them, “Rants from a mad man,” and other direct insults, debasing and degrading him and his cause as is merit. In addition, western media sensibly ensures that counter positions are added to the message from people of Osama’s creed as well as from sociological and psychological experts, in ways to dissolve the danger of the message. But sadly, not so with Nigerian media, who in glee and without once even using the word, “terror,” announce, “Operation Barabossa,” to be commenced by MEND. No reservations, no comment, no caution.
On August 4th last year, there was another cheap commercial released by Shekau. NewsRescue kept to its commitment of people-safe journalism, we captioned the release, “Abubakar Shekau, Manager of Boko Haram Terror Cult Releases Youtube Video,” and went on to have this to say:
August 4th, 2012
NewsRescue– The leader of Boko Haram terror group in Nigeria, Abubakar Shekau released another youtube video today. Certain media are publishing the rants in this video, but we will not waste your time. It is only of use to the Nigerian security services to try to pinpoint him. Also, we implore on youtube to take the trash off their servers and stop promoting his criminal cause. We are keeping with our stand and earlier news release on dealing with this menace and as also reiterated by Nigeria’s police chief: to
What is most sad is that these same media who are quick to publish and aid terror and be a part of the death in Nigeria, are not so eager to publish good news and news that can potentially bring peace and progressive change. I belong to a new youth political party in Nigeria, the Sovereign National Party [SNP]. I am aware that press releases of this new, amazing youth party, of progressive and dynamic individuals with a clear plan to move against the status quo, were given a black out by the same media that have been quick to publish “Operation Barabossa.” Nigeria’s so-called anti system papers like SaharaReporters, PREMIUMTIMES, etc turn blind eyes to many good stories once these do not give them relevance, and hey, there is no story in a good story.
Few weeks back, a major media mouth piece for Boko Haram, Ahmad Salkida, decided that enough was enough, he could not take it anymore, and so he fled to Dubai.
“Security agents and many victims of Boko Haram seem frequently upset by the things I write in the media which made me to scale down my professional visibility. More worrying, I have turned down Boko Haram’s several requests for me to publish exclusive interviews and materials for them.”
We congratulate him on a wise decision. It had been more than obvious that he had been publishing messages on Boko’s behalf in Nigeria’s stupid press. His most recent commercial for Boko Haram, soon after there was an announcement of a cease fire, which was published without any common sense by OsunDefender, SaharaReporters and PREMIUMTIMES among other papers, was a clear call and announcement to Boko Haram soldiers, that the cease fire was not true.
We quote from these so-called editorials on Feb 1st, 2013;
This piece culled from SaharaReporters, we jump to paragraph 6:
Boko Haram Ceasefire? Do Not Be Fooled, Nigerians By Ahmad Salkida
Initially what seems to bother the leadership of the sect is how to swiftly get its information distancing itself from the ceasefire announcement to its foot soldiers, having several months ago adopted the Taliban model of suspending issuing press releases anymore, as I learnt the sect has reached out to its members asking them not be distracted.
See: http://saharareporters.com/article/boko-haram-ceasefire-do-not-be-fooled-nigerians-ahmad-salkida and in PREMIUMTIMES here: http://premiumtimesng.com/opinion/118322-ceasefire-do-not-be-fooled-nigerians-by-ahmad-salkida.html
Boko Haram clearly wished to send an urgent message out to their foot soldiers, to keep killing. Ahmad Salkida was their perfect tool, and Nigeria’s new -age immature media, were too eager for cheap publicity and reps, and hurried ahead to publish a clear announcement by Boko Haram to its soldiers to keep killing.
The comments in response to Salkida’s advertisement on the free pages of SaharaReporters were not-minced. One of particular note was:
Brother Ahmad Salkida,
Thanks for helping Boko Haram get their message across to their foot soldiers, so they can continue killing innocent Muslims and Christians and creating hardship to Muslims and disgracing the deen of our pure Nabi.
Where else are you going to publish this advert? Guardian, Punch, Tribune and DailyTrust? Please do so urgently. Let no one be fooled and let no soldier be fooled either, as you say, unless and until the government is fair and decent in its negotiations with these murderers predicted of and cursed by the Prophet of Islam(SAW) and condemned to burn in hell by Allah(S), the government has done wrong and is the one to blame.
It was pleasing to see that the better of Ahmad Salkida’s conscience caught up with him and a month or so after making this announcement for Boko, he ran away to Dubai, to save himself from being continuously used as a mouth piece of death. We pray the new-age media, will likewise be overwhelmed by better reasoning.
Without global media, there will be no global terror. The new day terror is merely a product of the attractiveness immature new-day media provides. We call the terrorists “attention whores,” and the media are their pimps.
In it’s typical “terrorist,” fashion, the Nigerian government only hounds the media when publications affect “government glory,” and not matters like this of national security. By Nigerian government, too concerned with their fat pockets, to put sensible regulations on our print journalism and even domain blocks on internet media when these are caught in clear promotion of terrorism against international standards, the government as with all other facets of leadership, is again failing its people and as such, retaining its position as the top terrorists in Nigeria, along with Nigeria’s new-age keyboard eager media.