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Dailytrust Or Mistrust?

Dailytrust Or Mistrust?

Dailytrust Or Mistrust?

By Tahir I Tahir Talban Bauchi

Dailytrust earned a reputation over the years as one of the most authoritative and trusted media houses.

Its style of journalism was devoid of sensationalism and the new powerful and misleading but yet money making trend of fake news, click baits and wokeness. It probably didn’t rake in much revenue with the disposition of being fair and truthful in its reporting and news coverage, but it did earn our respect. As a budding writer way back in 2011, I yearned for my write-ups to be published by them and whenever they did, I was overwhelmed with joy.

After some years, they stopped and only published some occasionally. I noticed that whenever I wrote in support of any government policy or scheme, they wouldn’t publish it. I later on realised their hostility towards my party the APC, which I’m an avid supporter of.

They would regularly publish very scathing and injurious editorials or news items against the then PMB led Federal Government. I was stunned by their publications as they became consistently antagonistic.

I had earlier assumed that since they were a northern based and a northern owned newspaper, they would be less pungent in their criticisms and attacks. The more the years went by, the more clearly ‘oppositional’ their stands were.

My thoughts and admiration towards Dailytrust changed. It seemed to me they had dropped a lot of the ideals and fundamentals of good journalism, which they once guarded quite well.

Their recent outing on the Samoa agreement was disastrous and has really damaged their reputation as a trusted media house in my opinion.

The front page publication was political, latching onto manipulating the populace with religion which is the opium of the masses, to pitch the people against the government.

The backlash from the publication further portrays this intention of maxing the people’s outrage against the government. In the face of heightened tensions over insecurity, high cost of living and other living hardships, their outing was like throwing a matchstick into a keg of gun powder. In a statement by Maryam Aminu Bello Esq., the company secretary/ legal adviser of Media Trust Group, Dailtrust admitted to lapses in their reporting. She said, “we have also acknowledged lapses in our reporting on this particular matter, pointed to us by professional colleagues, and we will review and take appropriate measures”. She went further to say, “as our editors understood it, the Samoa agreement signed by Nigeria has expanded the definition of gender rights, from the traditional male-female, to a new norm, captured by the term LGBTQ (Lesbian; Bisexual, Gaya, Transgender, and Queer). That is the crux of the matter. If the agreement does not aim at promoting such new orientation, widely accepted in Western countries, then we are wrong in our interpretation. We will readily apologise both to the government and to the people for crying wolf. We expect that those qualified by training and experience, to make such a judgement, will weigh into the matter, and we will as usual publish all sides in the discussion, including that of the government”. I duly respect this position by Dailytrust and it is a work in progress of an apology in waiting. Hardly do media houses apologise or admit error after a damaging report. But clearly they had reported on a thorny issue without due diligence, consulting professional colleagues and secondly, seeking the government’s side of the matter.

They would have duly been informed on what the FG did before signing, after a delay of over 6 months to make sure they do not implicate themselves, or draw Nigeria into an unacceptable agreement.

Another publication on the backpage of Dailytrust, even though by a columnist or opinion writer, Suleiman A. Suleiman, with the headline: Samoa Agreement: The Dailytrust story got it wrong!; also indicates that Dailytrust is certainly admitting to wrongdoing. As published on the backpage of Dailytrust, the writer said, “the Dailytrust got it wrong on the issue of the Samoa agreement. After some research, my reading if the situation is that a) the Dailytrust story of July 4th, 2024, titled “LGBTQ: Knocks as Nigeria signs $150 billion Samoa deal” is a piece of sloppy reporting; b) there is no provision mandating member states to adopt LGBTQ rights in the agreement; and c) yes, the European Union, EU, actually tried, but ultimately failed to have those provisions included in the agreement”. He also added that the most important problem with the story in question is that it did not cite the contentious clauses in the agreement on which the entire reporting – and the ensuing controversy – is based.

The writer went on and on about how they failed the fundamental test of reporting.

A proper fact check by premium times titled, “Fact-check: Are there LGBTQ clauses in Samoa agreement Nigeria signed?”; has also revealed that LGBT clauses were contained in the initial draft of the Samoa agreement but protests by some member European states forced them to abolish the clauses in the final document.

It went further to say that the story was premised on an article by Sonnie Ekwowusi. The writer is a known supporter of Presidential aspirant, Peter Obi. Nigeria has a law, a constitutionally backed law against LGBTQ. The Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris Malagi had also stated that the Federal Government delayed its consent to allow it to carry a thorough review and ensure no clause in the agreement contravenes Nigerian laws.

The Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has also said that it has reviewed the agreement and there were no clauses forcing Nigeria into legalising LGBTQ practices, marriages etc.

The agreement would have to be ratified by the National Assembly anyway and that is where our own law comes to play.

The President, Vice President, Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives are neither open or closet supporters of LGBTQ (sensational journalism would have had a field day with it). The Nigerian society does not accept LGBTQ. Our cultures, our religions both Christianity and Islam do not support it. Not even our traditional religions or idol worshippers condone it. I as the writer does not support it.

How on earth will the government make it a law, change our constitution, and force our society, and our religions to accept or adopt it? Dailytrust ought to have sought the government’s side on the matter before there publication. EU is never giving Nigeria 150 billion dollars.

It did not give Zelensky of Ukraine and it certainly will not give the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I doubt very much if Dailytrust does not know how to do a proper reporting job. Their outing was not sloppy but deliberate. If it was indeed sloppy, then they should do a retraction, frontpage! People have become so gullible and a few words or lines of incitement can ignite a protest, a clash, or even a war. In our ancient traditional system, a certain king A was gifted a bride and his magatakarda (secretary), while reading the letter from king B who gifted out his daughter to king A, mis-spoke, and read the word ‘gara’ meaning foodstuff, to mean ‘gara’ meaning ants! The king was incensed that his bride was being accompanied with ‘truckloads’ of ants. They prepared for war! Dailtrust misread the Samoa deal and mis-spoke. Religious/tribal sentiments in Nigeria are highly volatile and a lot of people manipulate that especially for political leverage and sometimes even for economic gain.

As a weekly writer/ columnist, I cannot in good conscience keep mute, as the society is being misled into believing what is not true, which could possibly ignite a fire that would end up being unquenchable, or quenched after irreparable damage has been unleashed.

Dailytrust Or Mistrust?

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