Opinion

Media aides to politicians and trajectory they should follow

 

By Terfa Naswem

Many politicians have engaged the services of some people as their
Media Aides who lack the proficiency and profundity of journalism and
public relations. Many of them are good writers and communicators but
not journalists; some are bad writers and communicators who are not
journalists while others are well trained journalists who have decided
to go against media law to please their bosses.
Those who are neophytes as media aides to politicians and those who
have been in the job for long need to be cognizant of the trajectories
they should move on if they must be productive and be paradigms that
would foster congruity in the media team so that the desired impact
can be made on the public and also give their principals the publicity
they deserve.
Being a good writer or communicator does not automatically makes
someone a journalist. One needs to go through professional training to
become a journalist regardless of the course the person studied. That
is why we have engineers, medical doctors, sociologists, psychologists
and others who are reporters in those areas.
Even if someone read Mass Communication, Journalism or Media Studies,
and is employed by a television station, such a television station
will still sponsor the person to a media institution such as Nigerian
Television Authority (NTA) Television College, Jos, Plateau State to
be retrained in that area of specialization.
In 2010, during my professional programme in Television Journalism at
NTA Television College, Jos, I met some journalists from NTA, Africa
Independent Television (AIT) and other television stations who were
there for retraining.
For media aides to politicians to make the desired impact, they must
understand everything about journalism and public relations.
As a media aide to your principal, it is your responsibility to give
him much publicity by promoting every impact they make. You are also
an adviser to your principal on media: tell them what should or
shouldn’t be in the media.
It is not everything your principal tells you to say or write that you
will do. You will check if what they ask you to do constitutes,
sedition, or defamation such as slander or Libel. If it is, it is your
responsibility to advise them that such an intended speech or writing
would be against media law and can land the both of you in trouble.
Sedition is a conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the
authority of a state or monarch.
Defamation, calumny, vilification, or traducement is the communication
of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual,
business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.
Under common law, to constitute defamation, a claim must generally be
false and must have been made to someone other than the person
defamed. Spoken defamation is called slander, and defamation in other
media such as printed words or images, called Libel.
There are privileges and defenses in defamation cases which media
aides need to know which are: truth, statement of opinion, absolute
privilege, qualified privilege, and retraction of the allegedly
defamatory statement.
Writing falsehood has landed many media aides in trouble. When you
want to write anything against any politician or others, make sure you
get irrefutable facts before you say or write anything. When it has to
do with money, make sure you get your figures correct by verifying the
source(s) of information.
When I write articles against politicians or others, I don’t write
falsehood because I comprehensively understand the legal implication
of that. I have gone to the National Assembly, Federal Ministry of
Finance, National Bureau Statistics (NBS), Banks and other ministries,
agencies and organizations to get and verify my information before
publishing it, especially when it has to do with figures. That is why
all the articles I have written against the Benue State governor,
Samuel Ortom concerning all the funds he received from various
source(s) with nothing to show for, were written based on authentic
information I got that Ortom and his media team cannot challenge that
in court because such an action would further expose the high level of
corruption in his government and he will be asked to pay me for
damages.
As a media aide to politician, it is your responsibility to suggest
ideas to them that will make them to be appreciated by those they
govern or represent by making significant impact on them using such
ideas.
Let the public know the impact your boss is making by covering all the
events they attend and the impact they make. Except when such an event
is to be kept away from the public.
There are many politicians who have made significant impact but the
public are not aware because they engaged the services of ineptitude
people as their media aides who are lack creativity and innovation in
journalism and public relations required to turn things around for
them.
Media Aides should live up to their responsibility which they are
employed to uphold by doing the needful, and politicians should also
engage the services of media aides that have competency for the job if
they want the desired impact to be made.
*Naswem writes via e-Mail:nguterfa@gmail.com

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