Nigeria’s Sun Newspaper And Gutter Journalism

by Bayo Olupohunda

It prides itself as Nigeria King of tabloids which is a euphemism for sensational reporting. The mission statement reads” to practice journalism in the classical tabloid newspaper tradition of presenting the news and features in an exciting style, with impact, objectivity and appeal that generate returns to all stakeholders: the society, the investors and the practitioners. Welcome to the world of Nigeria Sun newspaper. But forget the mission statement above, the newspaper in the last three years has thrown its avowed mission statement into the gutters of biased reporting, partisan columnists and the absurd.

That the Sun Newspaper is a tabloid newspaper is in no doubt but the biased reporting of issues and its hatred for the fight against corruption is well known to discerning readers. The newspaper and its editors are anti people and do not practice journalism according to the ethics of the profession.

I was indeed one of the die hard readers of the newspaper. I was particularly impressed by the grassroots and investigating reporting and its coverage of the many ills done to Nigeria workers through casualisation by some Nigerian Asian companies. The editors of sun newspapers really provided fresh and new method of reporting that was different from the other established mainstream newspapers in Nigeria. The weekend newspaper was also a refreshing package of news report, articles and magazines. The Spectator pullout is still a crowd puller.

But all these changed as soon as the publisher of the newspaper entered politics and became enmeshed in corruption. Then the editors threw away their mission statement above and resorted to gutter journalism. It became worse when their non performing publisher who after spending eight years as the governor of Abia state with nothing to show for it was indicted with corruption charges.

Then they went haywire. Throwing everything at the anti corruption agencies. The editors are now always eager to prove that Governor Orji Uzor Kalu is innocent. Why won’t they wait till the court adjudicates on the case? Hardly a day passes without us readers having to face one obscene report on the travails of the former governor publisher of the newspaper. It is really obscene. The Sun Newspaper has degenerated into a gutter newspaper, throwing tantrums, using fowl language and headlines to kick against the imaginary enemies of their publisher or sing his praises to high heaven.

I was in Aba recently and also did a tour of some local government in the state. I was indeed saddened by the fact that Orji Uzor Kalu actually ruled the state for eight years. The level of rot was unimaginable. Piles of refuse every where, potholes ridden roads (even the inner city roads), thuggery, armed robbery, brigandage were the order of the day. Then I wonder why these journalists that write in the newspaper will not speak the truth. Is it because the man is their publisher? It is indeed shameful. You can indeed see the faces of the resident of the city, forlorn looking, having been traumatized for eight years under the Kalu’s administration. Yet the editors will sing his praises to high heaven.

Journalists should always speak the truth no matter who the piper dictating the tune is. My concern now is the constant EFCC bashing that has become the hallmark of the paper. Hardly a day passes without one screaming headline or the other about EFCC and Nuhu Ribadu. The editors of the Sun need to find other vocation rather than result to this propaganda that will not help their case and that of their Chairman. Discerning Nigerians would soon see beyond this gutter journalism the sun editors have resulted to.

The activities of their columnists have riled me and other Nigerians to the point of puking. Apart from their poor opinion and language they have often engage in the sinister vocation of turning the truth on its head. They are partisan. Unfortunately, this they do with amateurish relish.

I have enough and absolute respect for the men and women that write for the paper. But the truth must be told. The editor of that newspaper should do a proper stock taking and re-direct the focus of the paper from the current biased views which it now propagates in the name of defending their publisher from the corruption charges that have been leveled against him. The case is court.

The Sun Newspapaper no doubt has thoroughbred professionals. The list is awesome. From the award winning Shola Oshunkeye (the CNN African Journalist of the Year) to Mike Awoyinfa and Dimgba Igwe.These are people who have made their marks in the treacherous journalism profession in Nigeria. Why would they want to throw all their achievement away for a pot of porridge? Why are they defending the indefensible? Let them be told that they may run the risk of loosing their readership soon. Nigerians are beginning to see through their gimmicks. What they are doing is a great disservice to the Nigerian people.

The columnists that write for the Sun are the most insensitive set of columnists I have ever read. They turn truth on its head. Their views are warped. What manner of columnist will deliberately misinform and use dictatorial means to work on the psyche of the people? It is indeed unfortunate and these are the kind of people that write for the paper.

I will conclude this piece with a caveat for the editors of the newspaper. A word is enough for the wise. The present cash and carry journalism will not help the paper. Journalism must be practiced to help bring our country from its present state of corruption to the one in which the rights of the citizens are respected. Corruption destroys a country and its people.

Why protect one man just because he gave you a voice through the establishment of a newspaper? Is that why you must mortgage the entire readership and feed them with lies, half truth and blackmail? What is currently going on in the paper is share blackmail against the anti-corruption agencies all in the name of protecting the owner of the newspaper. This grossly unfair if the truth must be told. I stand corrected on this.

Nigeria journalism is fast becoming a cash and carry venture with cash and carry reporters, paid columnists and Ghana-Must-Go editors. All well meaning Nigerians must condemn this but unfortunately they do not have a voice at present. The crooked few in the name of some journalists continue to exploit their opportunity to kill popular opinion. I appeal to these set of editors and journalists to please stay on the side of the people. God Bless Nigeria.

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ABRAHAM June 15, 2011 - 2:33 pm

justification, it enable you to be free minded in your commentry and doing the right thing

joe February 9, 2011 - 9:07 pm

There is nothing like personal attack once you are serving the people or the country. These are the weapons left for truthful unbiased journalist and,individual have to aired and exposed those corrupt leaders to be checked. Therefore we are still decieving our selves when you see the truth and fail to speak out. Journalist as a profession has speak out write out the truth of any incident affect the country. Iam very disturbed when people like Ray ekpu and few other names were still mentioned time to time.These were journalist who could not speak out the truth. For example Dele Giwas death traced to Ibrahim Babangida. One thing i know he who kill by sword shall die by the sword.It is true journalist life often faced with great uncertainty but that is their profession. Until Nigeria journalist stood up tall and not involve themselves in any form of kickback corruption in Nigeria would continued.Each time i visit to Nigeria i think sun newspaper were among the few news paper shedding light of truth.Indeed journalist has gone milestone of improvement and expect to continue that way.

Prince Olaiya November 20, 2010 - 2:36 am

as good as ur article is, I think you are a little hasty, and a little biased in your assment. One you said ‘all these changed as soon as the publisher of the newspaper entered politics.’ On this believe me, you are very WRONG. Kalu was in Politics long before The first edition of The Sun was published. Then your piece, instead of correction an ill, seem targeted at condemnation. You told the world that it’s adherene to the mission has changed, but where you anywhere in this world when The Sun first published that OBJ nursed a 3rd term ambition one year before it became public? Where you aware that a former senate president sued The Sun for making public some of his secret deals? You generalized the all the columnist forgetting a certain respected Okey Emordi is one of them. would you look him in his face and tell him he is partisain. Haba! Im sorry but i think you wrote this on impulse, your intentions were right but your approach is questionable. Should The Sun go back to the great Newspaper it used to be YES! but should you call a dog a bad name in order to hang it? im sorry, NO!

Adegbayi November 11, 2009 - 11:27 am

I read SUN newspapers regularly and have so much fallen in love with the informations and articles. This article is rated good by me. I am seizing this medium to appeal to the Editor to please sit down with Molly Kilete, the writer of “MOTHER OF ALL FRAUDS” in Sunnewspaper of wednesday 11 nov 2009 and confirm the fact story. I can surely asure you that the story is totally untrue, ridiculous and only God knows how the people castigated in this report will take it. How will God even take it with you? Please reddem the truth before you publish anything, I pray God will Help you. Have you contacted the Director, Army Public Relations? which Army source gave you this information. Please do not let people loose trust and confidence in your paper. I am writing to tell you to go through the right channel and take the right steps. Let your publications be free and fair to all.

Mukolu March 26, 2009 - 4:36 pm

The sun newspaper may not be doing well in terms of objectivity, but fellow Nigerians, the truth still remains that he who plays the piper dictates the tune. Do you know how difficult it is to get a job in Naija? Am a good example. I finished my degree program 2003 only to get a job almost end of 2007. I wanted to go into private business but could’nt get the needed fund, meen, it was horrible and terrible. What kind of a man are you when you can’t assist your parents and younger ones who sacrificed so much just to ensure you go to school? You don’t expect this ones to throw away their job to satisfy conscience and end up being rubbished by the society ‘cos they are jobless. Do you know how the man without a job is regarded in the society? Place yourself there just for a moment (God forbid) and see what its like. As long as there are no alternative(s), hold tight to what you have, that’s the way of life, my brother, so don’t blame these guys (journalists) but blame the economy. PROUDLY NIGERIAN. Kudos!

Nick odinma March 16, 2009 - 2:39 pm

the sun newspaper has made me think that there’s no other realistic daily again in nigeria.

there’s no dall morment reading the sun newspaper

angel September 26, 2008 - 9:52 am

I’m pleased that their are still people whose consciences have not been seared. one would expect that all practising journalists will honour the proffession, this is not the case with some of our NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS. I’ll say kudos!!

IBRAHIM ABDULHADI August 1, 2008 - 3:19 pm

good observation and good initiative

betty July 3, 2008 - 5:10 am

quite pertetic , but what can we do , nigeria corruption is like a moving train without no stop , so my coment is this the country called nigeria is my land of origin ,but i will not be sorry to say that nigeria is a land full of greed people and self centered ones , so it will be very difficult to see nigeria move forward. its not a coures but is what i know and see.

so take hearth , may god bless u

i live in germany for a very long time now and thisis email ad bellow

constance chukwuma June 14, 2008 - 7:02 am

I give all three writers excellent cause what they are saying or said is all truth and correct, but at the same time the man who went to Aba is only saying what he saw which is not wrong for him to do. Of course he was in Nigeria just as all Nigerians have been there, watching how things are getting better and how life is great by the day and no one bats an eyelid, the people on top or in the middle keep telling us how it cannot happen in UK, USA, Holland and so on, why dont they tell the people how it is in those countries and make Naija to be like that, but we do nothing. In those foreign countries the people in power are striving daily making their environment better and better and people enjoy life there, clean clean clean everywhere is clean, everything works and life is good but here with all the money the nation has, albeit, a chunk of it is always stolen but nothing works, drivers drive as though mentally unstable or disturbed, cutting innocent lives short and nothing is done, if a fine is said to be enforced, someone gets up and say it is too much or harsh, that no one in Holland, USA etc. will be asked to pay such, they forget no one in those places can drive that way, or else for sure the fine will be harder, Please let people see the truth and say it for once if at all. Its only when one faces and says the truth then and only then will a nation or people be free. The SAN is doing a great job, God help him.

J. NDEDDE January 18, 2008 - 5:54 am

I am not surpised at what is happening in the world of Nigerian journalism (reference to Sun Newspapers:Bayo’s comments), the TRUTH is that we Nigerians see what is happening, understand it thoroughly, yet the watchdogs we have put in place allow their conscience to be seared.

Honestly, Orji Uzo Kalu, is not the only governor who has misplaced the priorities of the state, several other elected leaders, and even recently, the Senators and State House Representatives. The BIG question for Nigerians is, when do we really want to put things right? Stop all the ill gotten amassing of monies and make Nigeria better.

Ejor November 3, 2007 - 5:38 pm

making reference to other states seems to be affirming Olupohunda's point.the latter should be either right or wrong.

Jude Arijaje October 18, 2007 - 10:12 am

You were in Aba and you were saddened that Orji Kalu ruled for 8 years. Give me a break. Were you in Nigeria for the past 8 years, were you proud OBJ ruled us. lets take it state by state, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ondo, name one. Cash and carry reporters indeed. How about cash and carry governors, doctors, legislators, lecturers. geez, are you blind to the rot that has enveloped the society called Nigeria. Isolating one sector of the society means you are in dreamworld


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