Small size and personalised structure of most African media organisations largely contribute to their inability to challenge governments and corporations towards effecting necessary social positive change.
This view was shared by Francis Kokutse, a seasoned journalist who strings for international wire services with Nigerian journalists during their media training in Accra, Ghana recently. The training was sponsored by First Bank Holdings.
“In some African countries, there are small media houses especially newspapers that do not sell more than 5,000 copies a day. They have small operations and such they do not make huge social impact. If these publications come together, they would be able to form a formidable force and withstand controls that corporate world and politicians would pose”, Kokutse believed.
Kokutse who was a member of board of directors of Ghana News Agency, GNA therefore advocated mergers and acquisitions within the African media industry to create larger media entities for more publications, wider circulation, confidence to challenge government and reach.
He challenged African media organisations to make themselves relevant through size, wider circulation and publication of relevant stories than patronising politicians and corporations.
According to him, media organisations that patronise corporations and politicians for advert purposes cannot endure for a longer years in business. Kokutse who agreed that major source of revenue for media publications is advertisement said advertisers also depend on well circulated publications to reach their markets.
“When media organisations are big, they are able to circulate more, be relevant and attract advertising. Organisations and government would find it difficult to ignore any media that is relevant, but when they are small, they can easily be pushed away.
“More so, when you make yourself relevant as a journalist, people would find it difficult to push you around. Unfortunately, some journalists kill stories for money which at the end makes them irrelevant. Any small entity that does not have any muscle is in danger. The bigger you are the more muscle you have”, he said.
On emergence of social media coming to challenge the governments, Kokutse said across Africa, social media is breeding crop of activists who are polarised with unacceptable languages. He advised social media agents to pursue developmental and positive agenda. He is however against control of social media.
Due to trust for traditional media, he called on them to be relevant online instead of allowing social media to lead in news breaking.
Meanwhile, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on the Federal Government to halt its reported efforts to shut down online newspapers, blogs and websites perceived to constitute a “threat to national security”.
In a statement in Lagos, MRA’s Executive Director, Edetaen Ojo, said the surreptitious moves to clamp down on online media, attributed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), acting on the instructions of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President, constitute an affront to basic human rights norms and standards which guide the actions of all civilized nations.