‘We’re not terrorists or terrorists’ friends’, NGE tells FG

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Photo: Mustapha Isah, NGE President

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has denounced a recent warning by the broadcast media regulatory agency, the National Broadcasting Commision (NBC) to journalists, particularly in broadcast media organizations against giving “too much” reportage about the activities of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers in the country.

The NBC had in the directive, warned journalists in television and radio stations in Nigeria against “glamorising and giving too many details on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers” during daily newspaper reviews. 

Reacting to the development, however, the NGE, in a statement jointly signed by its President, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, described the directive by the commission as yet another attempt to gag the media from playing its primary role in a democratic setting. stressing that such a directive was tantamount to the NBC inferring that journalists by their reporting are encouraging terrorism in the country, which is not true. 

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 ‘’We hope it is not a ploy by the NBC to ban newspaper 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 said. 

The Guild also questioned the sincerity of such a directive as it failed to explicitly define what constitutes ‘’too many details’’, ‘’glamorising’’, ‘’divisive rhetoric’’, and ‘’security issues.’’ 

 Against the backdrop of NBC growing anti-media policy, the editors reiterated the Nigerian media’s commitment to the fight against terrorism, it said the media would not sacrifice its freedom and independence to the NBC. 

 “While we are mindful of our responsibility at this trying moment for our nation, we must also not lose the 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,” the NGE stated. 

“The NGE said that Nigerian journalists, especially its members, are not terrorists and bandits’ best friends, against the terrific insinuation by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and so, will never be disposed to giving the bloodthirsty criminals any exposure. 

The NGE noted that “history has revealed time and again that efforts to increase security through the clampdown of liberty and freedom have threatened both liberty and security.” 

 The body reiterated that “there is no security without free media and free expression, and no free expression and free media without security, saying these two terms should come hand in hand and not fight each other in the general interest of the nation.”

 The editors also stated that given the fact that journalists have a responsibility to help the country cope with the prevailing threats and consequences of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism, they will continue to be responsible and responsive in their reports. 

 The NBC had through the said directive, titled; “Newspaper Reviews and Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution,’’ signed by the Director, Broadcast Monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, on behalf of the Director-General of the Commission, Balarabe IIeah, cautioned broadcasters against ‘glamourizing and giving too many details’ on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers during their daily newspaper reviews. 

 

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