I have just resumed classes in a school of Theology. I picked a newspaper of the day for reading. I read a report in which one famed journalist was accused of knowledge of the death of another famed journalst killed with a letter bomb. The famed journalist accused of knowledge of the killing and the journalist killed were bosom friends. The journalist killed was the alter-ego of the journalist accused of his friend's death. It was unbelievable that he could be so accused, and the reporter who wrote the story reported that my mother who also was the mother of the slained journalist was his source. I doubted the report.
In the first place, every sensible observer of events surrounding the journalist's assassination had said it was only a government or a wealthy fellow who could muster the means to acquire a bomb to kill another. The journalist accused in the report wasn't rich and couldn't have been capable of paying for a bomb. My mother was said to have been interviewed for the story. I decided to verify the authenticity of the interview. At the time I was almost like the media liason officer for my family. I disbelieved that a formal interview of my mother was possible without my knowledge. I called my elder brother and younger sister, both whom I knew could have known of such an interview if I wasn't.They both denied knowledge of the interview. I decided to do a rejoinder to disclaim what I believed my mother didn't say, after I asked her and she told me she didn't grant any interview.
I wrote my rejoinder and took to the magazine's office that published the story. It was a highly respected magazine and I wondered how the editors could have fallen so low in their decision to use my mother as a cannon fodder in their war against their former employers, prior to starting their own publication. Aside from their cantakerous relationship with their former employers, I being almost a media officer in the family and whom the man accused in the gutter report had said was responsible for any publication against their interest, it was imperative I made the world know that I wouldn't under any circumstance make up unverifiable story, accusing another person of murder.
I arrived at the magazine's office. I met the editor-in-chief in the reception area. We greeted and he asked if he could help me. I told him I wanted to go upstairs to submit a repoinder to a report I found questionable. He asked for the rejoinder. And I gave it to him. He browsed through and shreded the paper. "What have you done?" I asked. I told him he had torn whatever respect I had for him as a journalist. He came after me with words. And I charged toward him with words. The next action from him was to order the security guys in the reception to bundle me out of the premises; and they did, forcing me into the rain and I was soaked. My jacked became like a heavy bag of beans on my body.
I resolved to take my case to the other magazine's house, where the editor-in-chief whom I believed had been wrongly accused, worked. I aroused the attention of all who saw entered the building. I was taken before the editors. I explained to them what happened to me. I thought my experinece could be a source of news to them. They expressed consternation on the treatment visited on me. However, they had a reservation; they would not engage the editor who had maltreated me in a debate that will bring them inot a controversy with the editor.
According to them, the editor who maltreated me and his subordinates had sought ways to bring them to disrepute and wanted a controversy, which they had avoided like a leper. I walked out of the building with a question about how people could claim to be in journalism and avoiding debates and controversies? Are debates and controversies not ingredients of journalism? Can one categorize debates and controversies and choose the ones to be engaged? Yes. But is an editor's refusal a rejoinder and subjecting the dissenter to jungle justice not worthy of another editor's question and investigation?