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Tread with caution, allow media do its job, ex-NBA chair tells Abdulrazaq

 

By Kayode Adeoti

The immediate past chairman of the Ilorin branch of the Nigerian Bar
Association (NBA), Isah Manzuma, yesterday, joined other Kwarans in
reacting to the unfolding drama between the state government and
National Pilot newspaper.
Manzuma, in a telephone chat with our reporter, urged the Abdulrazaq’s
led administration to allow the media in the state perform their
official responsibility without hindrance.
According to him, media is an integral part of the society saddled to
play important roles especially in a democratic setting.
He added that the media, being part of the democracy system reserves
the right to embark on investigative report.
“I think media is an essential part of the government and its work
involves investigative journalism. If a report is not true, government
definitely has right of action against the media house that may have
made published such report. This is democracy and it is give and take.
“An America President once said he would prefer a democracy without
government than democracy without media. Media is very important in
every society. I appeal to the state government to tread with caution
so that the media can play their roles,” he stressed.
Also speaking on the issue is the former scribe of the NBA, Sulyman
Abaya, who condemned the state government for asking National Pilot to
retract the report or tender an apology even as he said government’s
reaction was uncalled for.
Abaya, maintained that the state government does not have any cause of
legal action against the medium as the report in contention is not
libelous in any way.
According to Abaya, libel is when one deliberately publish falsehood
against an individual, but it’s not so in the case.
The former NBA scribe added that onus is on the media to reveal the
disposition of the governor through investigative journalism and
balanced reportage since he is now a public officer.
“The comment calling for the retraction or an apology on the report is
uncalled for because it is not libel. Libel is when one knowingly
published falsehood statement against an individual, it’s not so in
this case. A public officer such as the governor will be held to
account for not only the way he uses his office but his way of life.
Still speaking on why National Pilot had not erred, Abaya noted that
the medium got the reaction of the governor through his media aide
where he debunked the allegation saying the development shows that the
report is not targeted to smear the image of Governor Abdulrazaq.
“The publication was an account of what the media was hinted and made
findings about, the government had correctly rejected the allegation;
the reaction of the government house which was also published in the
paper indicated that it might be true after all.
“The report was meant to carry out social responsibility, to make the
public know the reality and disposition of the number one citizen in
Kwara.
“All over the world, Guardian in London, and the likes have social
responsibility to reflect lifestyle of government functionaries. The
moment an individual picks up public office, he doesn’t have privacy
again because he has put himself in the public arena which people can
use their torchlight to know,” he stressed.

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