Brown envelope journalists spoiling Nigerian media – U.S. Ambassador

Brown envelope journalists are ruining Nigeria’s media by eroding the public’s trust in the media, says the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.
Brown envelope is derived from cash inducements hidden in brown envelopes and given to journalists during press briefings.
According to Ms Leonard, one of the challenges that democracies worldwide face is an “unfortunate, pervasive lack of trust in the media.”
She decried financial inducement of journalists, saying that the “practice corrodes the institutional position of the media as what we refer to as the “Fourth Estate,” or one of our pillars of democracy.
Ms Leonard also urged Nigerian media to leverage their right to press freedom by countering propaganda and disinformation through regular and impartial fact-checking.
Speaking during a town hall meeting hosted by the Nigerian Guild of Editors on Thursday in Lagos, the U.S. ambassador said a team approach was needed to help improve public trust in the media.
The media-focused meetings and two-day workshops for over 200 editors will take place in turns in the six geopolitical zones across the country is supported by the U.S. embassy in Nigeria.
It was themed ‘Agenda Setting for Sustainable Democratic Culture’.
The U.S. ambassador also said access to accurate, unbiased information was critical to democracy.
She noted that the Nigerian media could ensure that citizen voices were heard, which might help reverse voter apathy.
The U.S. envoy added that media coverage of elections could encourage more turnout if all outlets focused on the issues that affected the daily lives of constituents.
The U.S. ambassador urged the media to pay attention not just to society’s problems but also to possible solutions.
According to her, most vicious trolls on the internet are shielded by anonymity.
The ambassador disclosed that the U.S. recently created a new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy to fight back against disinformation, stand up for internet freedom and reduce the misuse of surveillance technology.

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