Journalistic objectivity can refer to fairness, disinterestedness, factuality, and non-partisanship, but most often encompasses all of these qualities.
These qualities are obviously lacking when any news medium like #PUNCHNEWSPAPER reports subjective stories.
In its Tuesday, January 5, 2016 (on line) edition, the newspaper (in its story, Strike: Osun hospitals deserted) says “hospitals in Osun State have turned to ghost towns…”
That a group of doctors carry out industrial action is not unfounded. However, this should not encourage the newspaper to publish fabrications representing its interest that kind of aims to discredit the Osun government.
#PhotosDontLie, it is expected that the reporter of the story should have authenticated his claim with photos of the strange “ghost towns” he claimed to have visited recently. No such evidence was produced. This is because there was none anyway.
According to the newspaper, “The Psychiatric Ward, the Accidents and Emergency Ward, Pharmacy, Male and Female Medical Wards were deserted with no single patient when our correspondent went round the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. …with no single patient” This has never happened in any hospital, even when there is a full blown industrial action by all the unions in a hospital.
Hospitals don’t get deserted, not even at wartime, more so when other health workers like nurses, pharmacists and laboratory technologists are at their duty posts.
Apart from the union on strike, other doctors and consultants at the hospitals are at their duty posts, working and attending to in and out patients.
Again we ask, how can the ‘Pharmacy’ too be deserted when pharmacists are not on strike?
This is a sponsored story written by Osun PDP, with the reporter’s name only added to it as usual, in what has now become the hallmark of #PunchNewspaper’s disreputable brand of journalism where fiction is fact.
What they hope to achieve with the story becomes clear in the clearly subjective opinion which goes thus:
“One of the nurses, who spoke to our correspondent outside the hospital said the strike embarked upon by the doctors had led to an increase in maternal mortality rate (sic) as well as infant mortality rate (sic).”
“The nurse, who pleaded not to be named said she might not have a statistics (sic) to support her assertion but she was aware of some persons who lost their lives because they could not afford the bills at (sic) private hospitals which are considered to be on the high side.”
“The nurse said there had been upsurge in the number of persons seeking treatments from quacks and those who had resorted to self medications (sic) due to the prolonged strike.”
One would think the hallmark of responsible journalism is to investigate any claim and authenticate it before publishing, but our imaginary nurse spoke so authoritatively about how pregnant women and their babies are dying in government hospitals. The Punch, the mighty national newspaper giving global publicity to the unverified views of an unnamed street nurse drew uproarious laughter from a group of doctors in Osogbo reading the report over coffee. Listening to these doctors, I cannot but chuckle on how disreputable journalism has become in this country.
What the phantom nurse and the dude reporter did not know is that Osun placed second behind Lagos in the most recent World Bank assessment of Nigerian states on maternal and infant health in 2015.
Meanwhile here are shots of activities in some hospitals in the state, including the state hospital at Asubiaro in Osogbo. Picture don’t lie. No doubt the joke is on The Punch as it continues to lose credibility in Osun as it is now largely considered to be the propaganda rag sheet of Osun PDP