Role of Media in Fighting Social Injustices
As much as the government is supposed to help its citizens by establishing a vibrant economy, promoting equality and providing an optimum environment for work and businesses, there are usually many cases of social injustices and indifference as well as insensitivity towards the plight of many of its citizenry, a scenario which replicates itself in most part of the world. Usually, a blind eye is turned when sensitive areas affecting the citizenry come to light.
I come from a third world country where there are high profile cases of graft and corruption which involves the bigwigs in the government and their cronies. The many cases of corruption normally involve embezzlement of public funds (taxpayers money) and flawed tendering processes where most tenders are over-priced, the goods or services rendered are of poor quality and most of these ‘tenderpreneurs’ are either family member or cronies who helped so and so come into power.
Things have been that way year in year out and they have kind of become common. I’ve always been angered by the situation because even when there is evidence enough implicating those involved in these shoddy dealings, there has never been any legal action taken against them. Simply everything remains the way it is.
Exposing Graft Helps in Combating Greedy Public Officers
I’m a journalist and it is fun working with the media, but some ugly discoveries can put your life at risk, especially these high profile cases. Three years ago, there were allegations of a senior public official who had grabbed public land meant for cemetery and had gone ahead to develop it. When these allegations surfaced, I was tasked to investigate and cover the story. Together with another colleague, we went undercover to do the investigation. We contacted all the public offices involved – lands commission office, survey department etc. and we were able to get the facts about the portion of land that had been grabbed.
This exercise took us about 3 weeks. During this time, other media outlets that had covered the story did it for about a day or two and when other news came, they pushed the saga aside to make room for ‘new’ stories. No one bothered to do the thorough investigations as we did.
We all should Fight for the Right as a Nation
When we brought our final report of the saga to the editor and he was satisfied with the facts and the evidence we had collected, the story together with the necessary evidence was published. It quickly took the nation with a storm, with much uproar coming from the social media sites. This tempted other media houses to also ‘come’ back in covering the saga.
The graft involved a company which had developed the land. The company was also owned by another and the mother company had three senior public officers as the majority shared holders. Much had been concealed about the small company which had developed the land with its file of ownership not traceable at the registry of companies, though we did our investigations until we were at a position to link the two together.
Barely, a day after the saga was published, I received death threats. I knew that I was tasked by exposing injustices therefore I decided not to let myself be cowed by the threats. After reporting the death threats to the police authorities, I decided to take the war a notch higher by creating a revolution in the social media.
Seeing how hit things were, the president decided to take the matter into his hands and started by releasing those implicated off their public duties. A commission was set to investigate and a court injunction stopping further development of the land issued. 60 days later, the report came out and true to the facts, the land involved was a public land and thus the estate which was being developed was brought down. I waged a war that I never failed as a voice of the voiceless.