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Soyinka blows hot: My interview with Channels TV taken out of context, sliced into new ones 

2. Prof Wole Soyinka while speaking at the World Poetry Day event, held in Lagos, Nigeria

Prof Wole Soyinka

Channels TV aired the one and half-hour interview it had with Soyinka a week ago on Monday with several media houses feasting on the interview.

Soyinka, in a statement on Tuesday, titled “Media Responsibility” said he had read, at least, thus far – this morning, extracted from a one and a half-hour long interview, conducted  a week ago with CHANNELS Television.

He said his findings brought to the fore, the critical responsibility of the media in transmitting the spoken, even recorded – word  to the public, saying this was especially crucial in a time of civic uncertainty.

Soyinka said: “When remarks are taken out of context, spliced into a new one, provided a sensational headline, distortions become stamped on public receptivity, and the central intent of one’s remarks becomes completely unrecognizable.

“I denounced the menacing utterances of a Vice-Presidential aspirant as unbecoming. It was a gladiatorial challenge directed at the judiciary and, by implication, the rest of the democratic polity.

“But what on earth has happened to my even more urgent condemnation of the physical violence inflicted on those designated “strangers” in Lagos in the lead up to, and during  governorship elections?

“This prejudicial selectivity is a betrayal of trust, and I find it contemptuous of public deserving. My critique of incipient fascism in the movement remains grounded in indisputable evidence. Throughout the interview, I continued to stress that the final word had yet to be pronounced on the elections – that omission renders the full message tendentious!”

He said his rejection of fascism is nothing new, as on three occasions, he was able to send a message to Peter Obi that, if he lost the election, it would be his followers who lost it for him.

“It was depressing to watch his lieutenant, a crucially positioned voice of a movement that has “broken the mould”, threaten the totality of social existence. Whatever our ideological leaning, is Donald Trump the ideal template for a burgeoning democracy in the nation?

 “On a minor note, I remain concerned by the alleged complaint by me of people not following “instructions”. If words are garbled in recording, the speaker can be reached for clarification – else, simply leave out the unclear section completely to avoid misrepresentation.

“After all, piecemeal transmission is legitimate proceeding, as long as a part is not presented as the whole. I am not a member of the Labour Party, so how can giving ‘instructions’ become my role? Like a number of others, I have admittedly contributed to the making of this moment  – going back several years – and it is painful to have the followers of such a movement, send it slithering backwards and down the fascistic slope.

“I hope CHANNELS plans to  provide the entire interview.  After months of having to endure total fabrications of partisan utterances that are strange to me, even in their very choice of words,  it is most aggravating to have this, the first I have conceded in my authenticated person, casually subjected to selective editing and dissemination.

“Let us play by the rules of mutual obligation, or else abandon public discourse altogether,” he stated.

First Bank

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