At least nine journalists with the BBC Hausa Service in Nigeria have resigned in the last one month in what is described as “unprecedented” in the history of the international media outlet.
Daily Trust learnt that the affected staff members comprised two senior digital journalists, three social media journalists – two of whom are senior reporters – a senior bilingual reporter for Hausa/English Africa, a multimedia reporter and two video journalists.
It was gathered that while five of the journalists left last December; the four others resigned on Monday to join newly established Africa section of Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) in Istanbul.
“This is unprecedented in the history of BBC Hausa. Nine journalists of BBC Hausa have joined soon-to-be-launch TRT Hausa after the Turkish government decided to establish TRT Africa: Hausa, Swahili, French and English for Africa,” a source at the BBC confided in our correspondent.
The source said Nasidi Adamu Yahaya, who resigned as senior digital journalist, would head the Hausa service at TRT, with other senior journalists, Halima Umar Saleh and Ishaq Khalid as his deputies.
Asked what led to the mass resignation, one of the journalists, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were primarily motivated by the Turkish media’s resolve to tell positive stories in Africa.
He said: “TRT wants us to change the narrative of storytelling. Other international media organisations have been reporting mainly hunger, wars and other negative narratives about Africa. There are good, positive stories in Africa for instance Nigeria – business and employment opportunities, 2023 Election. There are cultural values, sports, innovations; people that are involved in artificial intelligence-related work. These are what TRT Hausa Service will be covering. Many international media are not reporting these things.
“We’re not saying we’re not going to report Boko Haram, banditry and others, but we have other positive stories. There are human angle stories on Boko Haram. We want to give Africans voices. People should be heard about their positive stories; not just negative stories always.”
The journalist, who also described the resignations as “unprecedented,” confirmed that “the last set of journalists tendered their resignation letters today (Monday).”
“Some of them are leaving today while others will leave in few days’ time. Five of us left in December. In Nigeria, BBC Hausa has more than 40 journalists, but now, about one third of us are leaving. It has never happened in BBC Hausa Service,” he added.