Since my article on Nigerians and migration was published on this platform, I have been receiving a lot of mixed reactions through the comment section of the LinkedIn profile of the publisher, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, and direct messages. The first School of Reactions believes that Global South and North media cover issues leading to migration differently. People in the second School of Reactions are yet to come to the terms that media select, frame and publish stories that support their primary objectives –revenue or shaping policies towards a specific direction to suit certain actors.
We are all guilty
Our guiltiness lies in the fact that both the global south and north media cannot always be negative if our actions and inactions are not negatives. From the citizens to the political leaders and business owners, we are all guilty of the conspiracy on the migration be it in Nigeria, other countries placed within ‘developing’, ‘third world countries’ among other terms being used to describe ‘wealthy’ countries from ‘poor’ ones. Media is the voice of the society. But, the media could be voiceless on prioritising negative happenings when the people in the society talk less about them.
Content Production: Between Global South and North Media
Media cannot produce any product without mingling with the people in the society directly or indirectly. This is one of the reasons; theories guide their processes and outputs such as news we consume daily. These theories were not developed by spirits. They are the work of human beings. Surprisingly, most, if not all the theories that guide media and the professionals were not from the Global South. To the best of my knowledge, I have not seen any scholar from Africa or Nigeria, giant of Africa, who has made a theory of the media operations. Here, Global North still dominates us.
Another striking thing from the whole scenario is that media practitioners and owners in the Global North know how to select some of the assumptions and propositions of the theories to align with their local and national governments’ policies on critical issues, especially international ones. Again, this is one of the reasons; we may not hear or read that a high percent of people living in the Global North are having serious socioeconomic problems.
Below I reproduce some of the comments according to the School of Reactions;
The First School of Reactions
“…our media are just interested in selling themselves to attract more revenue instead of looking at the damage it can cause to the national reputation and integrity of the country. How the media report international scenarios of Nigerians leaving the country to countries like USA, Canada should not be negative. It is in our hands to build our country.” A.A.
“…there are countless ways to craft or shape a narrative, including those who will tell you that they just want to travel and make money, or to further their education, and by the time they achieve that, a new narrative emerges. When your compatriots who travel out and then start talking about how ‘nothing is working’ in Nigeria, you do not need to be reminded that their alliances have shifted.” F.O.
“If the story is not as bad as the media paint it, why would Nigeria, let that brilliant chap who made a perfect score (5.0) in UNILAG be whisked away by Stanford University as a Knight Hennessey Scholar? If the country is not as bad as the media paint it, why wasn’t the reward of such excellence by our own government competitive enough to keep the young man here? What more should the young man give to become valuable in our eyes or was it the media, too, that blinded our eyes to not recognise our own? The system isn’t just there, simple.” O.E.
The Second School of Reactions
“If Nigerians are moving out to study because of the existing poor educational system, how is that the fault of the media? Are the Chinese also leaving China to study in North America and Europe because of foreign media reports? One of the notable thoughts around the media is its gatekeeper responsibility, expecting the media to do otherwise is simply looking for an ocean in the desert. Can you do a gap analysis to fault foreign mass media’s report on Nigeria? J.A.
“Strongly disagree with the insinuations and allusion of the article.” H.U.
From both schools, I have learned that people from the Global South sometimes hate data, especially when they (data) are not suiting the expected goals. For the two schools, most importantly the second school, reading this article titled migrants and the media: what shapes the narratives on immigration in different countries before publishing the research I and other colleagues did will stimulate the discourse on the conspiracy further.