Nigeria: NGE – Media Not Disposed to Giving Terrorists Exposure

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), has said contrary to the insinuation by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigerian journalists, especially, its members, were not friends to terrorists and bandits and as such, would never be disposed to giving the criminals any exposure.

The professional group however maintained that journalists have a responsibility to help the country cope with the prevailing threat and consequences of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism in Nigeria, and would continue to be responsible and responsive in their reports.

NGE stated this on Wednesday while expressing concern over the recent directive by the NBC, warning journalists, television and radio stations in Nigeria against “glamorising and giving too many details on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers” during their daily newspaper reviews.

In the directive titled: “Newspaper Reviews and Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution”, signed by the Director, Broadcast Monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, on behalf of the new Director-General of the Commission, Balarabe IIeah, the regulatory agency cautioned broadcasters against glamorising and giving too many details on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers.

But, in a statement by its President, Mustapha Isah and General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the NGE said the directive was unhelpful and described it as a subtle threat to free press, freedom of expression, access to information, and victims’ right to justice, which it insisted were essential to public debate and accountability in a democratic space.

The Guild added that given the consistent anti-media policy of NBC in recent times, its members were concerned about what the commission meant by the expansive definitions of what might constitute “too many details”, “glamorising”, “divisive rhetoric” and “security issues” in its directive.

“We hope it is not a ploy by the NBC to ban newspapers review in broadcasting stations, because, the content of the directive doesn’t specify what kind of conduct would fall within their realm. It is our view that the role of independent, critical, and trustworthy journalism has never been more important than now in our country”, the Guild explained.

The Guild added that Nigerian media were very mindful of their responsibility in the current collective efforts to address the security challenges in the country, adding that the relationship between the security agencies and the media has been more respectful and trustful along this mission in the past few years.

“While we are mindful of our responsibility at this trying moment of our nation, we must also not lose ability to see that security, in a democratic nation, is not an end in itself.

“Its single purpose is to protect the capability of institutions, including the media, to guarantee citizens the free exercise of their fundamental human rights, without discrimination.

“History has revealed time and again that efforts to increase security through the clampdown of liberty and freedom have threatened both liberty and security,” it stated.

While reiterating that there was no security without free media and free expression, and no free expression and free media without security, NGE said these two terms should come hand-in-hand and not fight each other in the general interest of the nation.


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Author : This Day

Publish date : 2021-07-22 13:18:23

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