Govt charges VOA Hausa Service on balanced coverage of Boko Haram
Against a perceived stereo-typed report, the Federal Government has appealed to foreign media based in Nigeria, particularly the Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service, to ensure a more balanced coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency.
Making the appeal yesterday in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while receiving a delegation from the African Division of the VOA, led by its Director, Mr. Negussie Mengesha, said that there had been allegation that the Hausa Service of the VOA’s reporting of the war is being skewed in favour of the insurgents, and urged the international broadcaster to correct the perception.
He said: “The Voice of America is very popular in Nigeria, and for many years, it has been seen as the veritable voice of co-operation, partnership and friendship to Nigeria. I can say that in the northern part of Nigeria in particular, the Voice of America is listened to very religiously.
“However, I must say that in recent times, there have been lots of complaints about the Voice of America from the same part. People have not been too happy about the way the insurgency has been reported in recent times.”
Mohammed, who commended the VOA for its various capacity-building programmes for journalists in the country and stressed the need to have an exchange programme between the American broadcasting organisation and Nigeria’s public broadcasters, also lauded the VOA for expanding its reach through the social media, saying: “Social media today is so pervasive. It might not be believed by all but the penetration is probably deeper than that of the conventional media. It is instantaneous, viral and it has no boundary. I must commend you for your effort to move from radio to a multi-media platform.”
Responding, Mengesha denied the allegation that the coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency by the VOA Hausa Service is slanted in favour of the insurgents.
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