Nigerian Media, LGBT and Unfair Reportage

April 10, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo

 

By

Awesu Olaniyi Williams

 

 

Stereotyping and ethnic profiling are some of the banes undermining the growth of media in Nigeria ever since the emergence of the ‘new’ media (especially blogging).

 

I have often argued that the media plays a significant role in the peace and stability of any country, Nigeria notwithstanding.

 

In the case of domestic violence, rather than address the issue regarding an increase in domestic violence, most Nigerian news media will exploit an ethnic angle from which the following headlines can be read:

 

Cheating Yoruba Assaulted By Husband” or “Yoruba pastor nabbed with two fresh human heads.”

 

Little wonder then that there is a festering mistrust amongst various ethnic groups making up the country.

 

Today, one of Nigeria’s most widely circulated newspapers has taken this stereotype a little further by absurdly reporting a fight in Lagos with an insulting headline disparaging the Nigerian LGBT community.

 

The Punch newspaper, which often describes itself as “The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria” made an uncharitable reportage:

 

Homosexuals fight in Lagos after contracting HIV.”

 

The report began with the following condescending opening:

 

There was chaos in Egbe, in the Ikotun area of Lagos State , when some homosexuals allegedly fought one another after contracting the Human Immunodefeciency Virus.”

 

To start with:

 

Sexual preference is a private inclination of consenting adults. Therefore stringing sexual orientation to a public order offence like fighting is a rather unfair media attack on sexual minorities and not only that, “Punch” through her reportage, has spotted the secluded LGBT community with a negative connotation about the scourge of HIV, thereby, unknowingly mitigating against various people from coming out to get tested for the virus. Fearing being positive they might end up being stereotyped for being homosexual whether or not that is ‘incorrect’.

 

While the LGBT community are still struggling for visibility, acceptance and safe place in a rather strongly conservative country like Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, Punch newspaper’s publication of 9th April, 2018 has invariably cast aspersions (which might be unintended) on the humanity of LGBT community members.

 

In that light, I would like to strongly say that the Nigerian media must learn to make an effort in recognising her important as the 4th, a most important estate of the realm, in shaping public views and opinions. Thereby, such frivolous reportage goes a long way in harming the little gains made thus far by the Nigerian community in finding a public face and voice.

 

 

 

 

Awesu Olaniyi Williams

Awesu Olaniyi is a 24 year old, second best graduating student of Political science education from Lagos State University where he won various regional and national awards for public speaking and environmental advocacy. He is currently a freelance writer, LGBT discussant and aspiring M.sc student of political science. He can be reached via awesuolaniyi@gmail.com.

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