#Panamapapers, social media and the fourth estate of the realm

 By Olusegun Hakeem-Adebumiti

Revelations from the panama papers is the in thing across the globe at the moment. Apparently this explains the situation we are in the world today as with the click of the mouse or the press of a button, the world is brought to our doorsteps without stress.

The panama papers revelation took the team of investigative journalists who unravelled the leak a year to uncover the over 11 million confidential documents of financial dealings of politicians, celebrities and public office holders with stakes stacked in tax havens.

That alone is breathtaking and Kudos to these jolly good fellow for bringing more prestiges to the media job. For sure those guys are going to be part of the TIME personalities of the year by the end of 2016.

For the last 5 days or more now, the  revelations from panama papers have further reinstated the believe by members of the global community that these unnecessary celebrated icons in the world made their fortunes from controversial circumstances. These same people are celebrated ignorantly on the pages of newspapers and magazines and we even call them philanthropists.

While the revelation has consumed notable public office holders like the prime minister of Iceland after a protest from the citizens, same could not be reported of the African leaders as none of them mentioned in this part of the world has toed the honorable path.

As at Saturday morning on downing street, the official residence of the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, hundreds of protesters gathered to demand the resignation of the PM after he admitted to having a stake in tax haven before becoming prime minister.

It is yet to be seen whether he will as well toe the path of honour by resigning from his position as PM. The unfortunate aspect of the protest was that the BBC world service remained silent on the protest. Apparently in a show of support with the PM or what? Thanks to the Russian Television and citizen journalists on the social media, there was a blow-by-blow coverage of the protest.

The protesters also took to the social media to demand Cameron’s resignation while the hash tag #resigncameron trends for hours. A nostalgia of the 2011 Arab spring protest was thus brought to the fore by the protesters.

Then, it was the social media through the activities of citizen journalists that culminated into the successful dethronements of leaders like Ben Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya by the citizens while the continuous crisis in Syria and Yemen cannot be unlinked from the Arab spring protests of 2011.

The panama papers revelation has again brought to the fore the roles of members of the fourth estate of the realm towards achieving an egalitarian society where merit and justice will prevail over mediocrity and injustice.

Journalists should do more of investigative journalism in order to put politicians, public office holders and above all governments on their toes. For us to ensure even development of our society where accountability and transparency is the watchword, journalists must be above board by practicing pristine journalism.

As more revelations trickle in, more names are expected to emerge from the panama papers leak and whether it will lead to the end of many public officer holders across the globe, only time will tell.

Hakeem-Adebumiti writes from the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.

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