20 June 2011 10 Comments

Forbes, BBC: A letter from a concerned loyalist

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Dear Sirs,

What happens to ethical journalism?

Forbes and BBC are two credible international media that I will always love. One, I strongly believe they are established by people of high professional and personal reputes. As a professional, a credible news to me is not confirmed until I have found out such news is covered by either of them. For this I daily visit their online platforms. A news story (credited to your platforms) spreading fast in the last one month is gradually eroding this confidence. I will therefore appreciate a feedback or urgent action to convince not only me, but other people living in developing countries around the world that these frontline platforms have not become strong platforms for promotion of sensationalism, biases and prejudices.Forbes and bad journalism

As an individual, I do believe one should not shout at a friend one can whisper to. So in the last one month I have tried to whisper without any responsible action taken. The news story bothers on a write-up on Nigeria frontline pastors. Let me first establish that I am not a pastor but a brand communication professional who is happy with his estate.

The story was first covered by a Forbes’s blogger. From the first few paragraphs of the story and my subsequent comments, interactions with him on the said story; it is obvious he has some personal prejudices against Nigerian ‘rich pastors who ride on their flock’ according to him. To be honest with him, who would not be?  Especially when we daily witness a fractional number living in an ‘island of wealth’ milked from the poorest souls they called congregation. This should not be a surprise as every calling has its own proportion of quacks. This state prevails because many buyers want a quick fix it or silver bullets.

Now let us assume the blogger’s notion is completely true; one still expects a professional journalist, blogger to know when to maintain professional mark between personal prejudice and real authoritative and investigative journalism. One expects a thorough investigation from someone who has such high profile platforms like that of BBC and Forbes. This Forbes blogger was unable to do this. This is why I made a comment on the said link that he should substantiate with evidence that the likes of Pastor Sam Adeyemi has a private jet according to his claim. In his reply, he stated he contacted corporate communication department staff of Daystar organization (which does not exist till date) who confirmed that Pastor Sam had a jet while Pastor Sam Adeyemi said he did not have.

 Yet he went to the press on such a frontline, credible source like Forbes to propagate unsubstantiated story. To set the record straight, what exists in Daystar today is something close media production/brand management team (a voluntary team that are not staff members). I therefore asked the blogger and by extension Forbes to supply the names of staff he spoke to. Instead the Forbes’ blogger asked what the basis of my criticism was. My reply to him was for him to do a Google search on the malicious story he wrote and see how he and Forbes platform had aided over two Million negative results for brands that have worked hard to reach where they are. I am particular about Pastor Sam Adeyemi because I have verifiable facts. One expects the blogger and Forbes by extension to either produce evidence or simply follow the right path of honour: apologize for this damage and avert further damage. If the long distance knowledge I have about Bishop Oyedepo and Pastor Adeboye is also correct, they are too frugal to have four jets per time as Forbes claimed. Since the claim on Pastor Sam Adeyemi is now seen to be false, one may take the rest with a pinch of salt.

For BBC blog, we cannot out rightly say the platform has committed grave professional offence as the platform claimed it got the news from a strong platform like Forbes. Here again, we see huge responsibility Forbes and its writers have in ensuring its news are adequately authenticated before publication. Our argument against BBC is that the platform is too dependable for ‘copy and paste’ journalism without verification and strong evidence. Let us assume BBC crew had seen write up like ‘British Prime Minister is sexually harassing every female staff in his cabinet’; God forbid. Will they have copied and paste, embellished it with juicy words like we have in their version of the story without a background check? These and many other issues had become a source of concern to me as a loyal stakeholder in Forbes and BBC enterprises. I will therefore love to hear from my darling platforms while such news story is allowed without check.BBC and bad journalism, Ethical journalism, BBC and other issues

But just thinking aloud, could it be right if we honestly examine these frontline men of God in Nigeria without bias or any prejudice? Some of these frontline men of God in Nigeria like their counterparts around the world in the class of Dr. Myles Munroe and others are internationally acclaimed authorities in a niche. For this, they are invited to speak to Presidents of nations, Board of Directors, at conferences, international organizations around the world. For instance Pastor Sam Adeyemi is reputed for his leadership and success principle niche. Bishop Oyedepo had an accredited doctoral degree in psychology and has built outstanding institutions. I stand to be corrected. Even though some of them do not charge commensurate consultancy fee, they do receive worthy honorarium from speaking all-round the year all over the world. I am aware Pastor Sam do turn down many speaking requests because of his tight schedules. Out of his honorarium, Pastor Sam does pay taxes as he constantly encourages his church members to be responsible citizens. That is in a lighter mood, anyway.

 I also know this will be same for the other two Pastors mentioned. Couple with this; let us also remember that because these men of God are regarded as resource persons, their materials-books, Audio and video CDs may be Million dollar channel of income? Let us leave this line of thought for another day and concentrate on the issue at hand.

I appeal to Forbes and BBC top management to say something in order to correct wrong impression a loyalist like me is beginning to have about these long standing organizations. I look forward to this. Let me assure I still hold your organizations in high esteem pending the time I will read or hear from you both.

#Disclosure: I am a thorough-bred Nigerian professional who is not an employee, consultant to neither Pastor Sam Adeyemi nor Daystar Organization but just a congregation member of Daystar Christian Centre Lagos Nigeria.

Yours sincerely,

Yinka Olaito

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