Society suffers when good journalism fails- Prof Karl Idsvoog

Rafat Salami, Cleveland Ohio

Professor Karl Idsroog, Kent University, USA

A US based investigative journalism expert, professor Karl Idsroog wants Nigeria journalists to cultivate tools for enforcing accountability among public office holders for the promotion of good governance.

Prof. Idsvoog who teaches journalism at Kent University, USA made the call in a lecture explaining the ‘role of the media in encouraging accountability’ one of the sub-themes of the project, to a team of seven visiting Nigerian journalists including Voice of Nigeria’s Rafat Salami, in Cleveland Ohio.

Professor Idsvoog said all failures in societies can be traced to poor journalism and attributed the US – Iraqi war to poor journalism.

“The US invasion of Iraq is our recent example of poor journalism. We did not ask the right questions, we just were complacent. Imagine that the US invaded Iraq even when we knew the masterminds of the 9-11 disaster were mostly Saudi’s,” he mentioned.

Professor Idsvoog, urged journalists to use various strategies including the social media to stampede public officials who refuse to do what is expected of them.

“Ask good questions, ask for evidence. When they refuse to provide answers, use their refusal as basis of your report, that means you must document your process of questioning so that you have documents to show that they refused to answer questions,” he advised.

Still on the role of journalists in entrenching good governance, an American tutor and member for the Cleveland Council on world affairs, Dr Linda Robertson challenged journalists to be agenda setters for the government.

Dr Linda said Nigerian journalists should help its citizens to address the gap in university enrolment against the backdrop of those who qualify for university studies and are yet unable to gain admission.

According to Dr Linda “over 50,000 Nigerians are said to be in need of education in the US and other foreign countries due to the inadequacies in the Nigerian education sector.’’

In response to the remark by VON’s Rafat Salami that Nigerian government was already improving the educational sector by granting licenses for the establishment of more universities, Dr Linda said in the short term, Nigerians will still need to acquire trainings abroad.

She said china and Japan were previously in that category of those who sought education abroad to bridge gaps, but they are today self sustaining.

The Nigerian journalists are on tour of some states and agencies of the US being exposed to journalism in the US and how it works to entrench good governance.

The tour is sponsored by the US state department in partnership with the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Abuja.