Under Buhari NBC Plans To Pocket Press, Now Dictates For Media Where Or Where Not To Nose For News
In what look like a complete disrespect to the Freedom of the Press as guaranteed in the 1999 Nigeria Constitution and a show of excessive use of power, National Broadcasting Commission, N.B.C has issued an order to all radio and television stations in Nigeria not to nose or source for news in the Federal Government banned social platform, twitter.
N.B.C in a letter dated June 6, 2021, said in line with the federal government under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari ban on Twitter, all radio and television stations in the country should suspend the patronage to the social platform.
A careful observation of activities on Twitter shows that Channels television has since complied with the directive as the media station last post on Twitter shows two days ago.
Nigerian Television Authority, N.T.A last post on Twitter shows three days ago.
Africa Independent Television, A.I.T last post on Twitter shows two days ago.
Also, the National Broadcasting Commission, N.B.C last post on Twitter shows two days ago.
But some local or state radio and television stations were still active or posting on Twitter as at the time of filling in this report today.
OsazuwaAkonedo reports that government is not a conspiracy organization but a lawful entity that should obey all laws in the course of enforcing a law.
Media practice as observed in most countries is a body that carries out neutral operations in any issue, crisis or even at war time.
Media are not permitted to take side or their operations interfered with during or in any crisis.
Media by law is an estate of his own that should be seen acting as intermediary between parties in dispute.
Specifically, the radio and television stations are expected to do more in situation like this, engage in surveillance reportage, thus, know what is going on currently on Twitter, help express the minds of the Federal government and the position of the Nigeria masses.
In war situation, the media and its practitioners are expected to have the freedom or access to both sides in the conflict.
This reminds what N.B.C did to Channels television for granting interview to a man who identified himself as a member of Indigenous People of Biafra, I.P.O.B.
The N.B.C said I.P.O.B is a proscribed body which the Federal Government considered the group as a terrorist organization.
The bitter truth is that N.B.C and the Federal Government has no right under common logic to tell media or broadcasting stations not to balance their reportage.
If the federal government use any media or medium to make statement against any terrorist group, the right thing is that the media if able to get access to the terrorists, should and must be allowed to perform its constitutional obligations to the people.
Such Press freedom is capable of bringing lasting peace to the people and resolving the conflict.
To tell the obvious that N.B.C is a biased regulator, Nigeria radio and television stations have been granting interviews or helping to report the views of terrorists well known for mass destruction of lives and properties in the Northern Nigeria through the bandits or terrorists advocate, Abubakar Gumi.
The Islamic cleric, Abubakar Gumi often times do visit the terrorists in their hide out, interact with them and come back and all the radio and television stations in Nigeria will be airing and discussing the opinions or views of the terrorists, N.B.C has never been reported to have seen wrong with that or impose a sanction on any radio or television station.
Maybe to N.B.C, the media is doing their work but when it comes to Channels television granting interview to a man who advocated on behalf of I.P.O.B like Abubakar Gumi do use most radio and television stations in Nigeria to advocate for bandits or terrorists in the North, then N.B.C will wake up and sanction the broadcasting station.
I believe Professor Armstrong Idachaba of N.B.C do not see or watch Aljazeera, B.B.C or C.N.N reporters finding their way into terrorists camps and granting them live and recorded interview.
In some cases the aforementioned journalists even do documentary interview with the terrorists group.
The freedom of press as guaranteed in the constitution is the collective decision of the people and not a directive or a proclamation of the federal government.
The freedom is expected to be uphold by any responsible government who is working with sincere heart for the people and such has nothing hiding.
This is not to say the media cannot be sanctioned by law.
But such sanction is based on court pronouncement.
Not executive order or directive of the federal government or its agent like N.B.C.
The letter issued by N.B.C is presented excerpt:
SUSPEND TWITTER HANDLES
Consequent on the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the
Federal Government over the persistent use of the platform for
activities that are capable of undermining the corporate exstence of Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission directs all Broadcasting
Stations in Nigeria to suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately.
In Compliance to the above directive, Broadcasting Stations are hereby
advised to de- install twitter handles and desist from using twitter as a
source (U.G.C) of information gathering for News and programmes
Presentation especially Phone-in.
Section 2(1) of the N.B.C Act entrusts the Commission with responsibility
to ensure strict adherence to the national laws, rules and regulations.
Also, section 3.11.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code provides that “the
broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in
a matter depicting that law and order are socially superior to or more
desirable than Crime and Anarchy.
Attention is also drawn to section 5.6.3 of The Code which requires
Broadcasters to be mindful of materials that may cause disaffection,
incite to panic or rift in the society in the use of a user generated
Note that it will be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue
to patronise the suspended Twitter as a source of its information, therefore strict compiance is enjoined.
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