Redeeming the Integrity of the Journalism Profession

FFK calls Nigerian Journalist Stupid
Between FFK and Eyo Charles

From saying the journalist is stupid to saying he could see from his face the moment he walked in that he is stupid.

From I’m sorry I usually don’t get this annoyed to I have a short fuse.

Whichever way anyone looks at it, my colleagues missed an opportunity, make that a golden opportunity, to set FFK straight. And by doing so, subsequently set journalism in Nigeria back on balance.

This is definitely not the first time it is happening and will not be the last if one of the journalists at that sitting hadn’t had the good sense to film the outburst and share with colleagues. 

I’m done with ranting about FFK, he isn’t that important, seriously. 

What’s more important is the profession and its integrity. 

More videos have surfaced of FFK labeling journalists stupid. One with a certain UK journalist and another with a journalist who asked him questions about Governor Yari.

So guys, we know. We knew how disgusting he thinks journalists are, yet we went to his “press briefing” on a task he executed without being assigned” – don’t ask me how I know he wasn’t assigned the task because if he was he would know that “who’s bankrolling this tour” means why did you take on this task?”

Now guys, back to the fact that we knew. As journalists, we could have turned down his invitation or asked that a statement be sent via newsroom email.

We didn’t. We attended and had the effrontery to tell a colleague who was being ridiculed that “it’s okay”.

No! It’s not. Not okay to ridicule my profession. Not okay to call me or my colleague stupid. Not okay to say you apologize for calling him stupid “because you have friends whose ego you bruised by your outburst” not because you wanted to put the robe back on the man you disrobed in public.

The other journalists could have walked out of that meeting. They could have silently walked out and gone back to their editors to say “today, I was insulted and I responded as a dignified journalist” and “that” would have been news. 

News because Nigerian journalists chose to “not secure the bag”. News because Nigerian journalists chose to fight insolence with dignity rather than wait to take the “thank you for coming” envelopes back to their editors who probably were waiting for their share of the booty back in the office.

News because the journalists could have chosen to say “today I refused to let my Press ID put pennies in my pocket, today I chose to put my Press ID to work because I am a journalist of repute.

But you know what we did when the video went viral? We went on Twitter and made FFK more popular with the hashtag FFK when we could have made the hashtag #JournalisminNigeria or #JournalismMatters or #JournalistsWithDignity. 

I could go on and on and on because it hurts every single time I remember.

Hurt because it didn’t have to happen for us to be jolted. If journalists in Nigeria weren’t paid peanuts, they definitely would have found their voices in that room with FFK.

If journalists had employers who cared more about their employees as much as they cared for ratings, perhaps they would have found their voices. 

Until we begin to turn down brown envelopes in the forms of “invitation to dinner”, “invitation to lunch” or an “afternoon or evening with every Segun, Okoro and Ali, and turn down cash or material gifts, we will not have a voice. Even if we did, it would be a barely audible croak.

And no, it’s not okay FFK. We are just getting started. It will no longer be business as usual. There’s much more that viewers want to see or hear on air than pressers and outbursts. There’s more to journalism than that actually. 

You roll solo now.



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