Liberal Mind

Free press matters

By Adetunji Ayobrown

True and accurate story is meant to bring light to the system. Or except we want to give wrong captions to our own destiny. Free press matters, but how do we put this in perspective to this regime is a serious national issue. our nation is heading nowhere good without freedom of the media.

Except to a government that believes truth is not an agenda. Bringing information to the doorsteps of people is a necessity in a democracy. Beyond any weird imaginations, this is what our nation has been reduced to.  Described by many as an obnoxious, intolerable, elusive attempt to gag the Nigerian press, the Federal Government dictates to the media on how to tailor its reports. Don’t report details of attack was the directive as instructed by NBC.

Putting citizens to the know daily, many broadcast stations in Nigeria review newspaper headlines as part of their daily shows before breakfast. But in a letter dated July 7, 2021, issued to television and radio stations, stressed the need for “caution” by broadcasters while reporting security challenges in the country.

Gibing many Nigerians grips, many of this regime policies and actions. There are many games Buhari’s regime thinks they can play with no qualms. But this is just another wrong turn for this tenures, a simple warning from many concerned  Nigerians.

FG is seen as a disturbing reality or FG is arrogantly championing unpopular policy, these and many more Nigerians tagged the directive of the Federal Government that the media should not divulge details of the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in their reports.

Like speaking against its government in silence, the directive by the National Broadcasting Commission that television and radio stations should not glamourise the nefarious activities of insurgents during their daily newspaper reviews.

The basis for the daily replete security topics should be taken seriously by the government rather than the reportages of the truth. As for national security, the media should not report the whole truth, but all thanks to Buhari, that such is yet to be applied to borrowing and corruption being perpetrated.

Insecurity’s droppings are like heavy stones, big enough to crush the entire state. Trying daily to create and put phobia at a crescendo in Nigerians minds.

But don’t say the whole truth was the directive of the Federal Government to the media. Never divulging details of the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in their reports, action may be called antidemocracy.

It would be recalled that recently, Buhari attempted to muzzle the press in Nigeria by prodding the National Assembly to amend the Nigeria Press Council Act and the National  Broadcasting Commission Act.

Fiercely opposed not only by media stakeholders but also most Nigerians. Described as a move meant for information blackout akin to the infamous Protection Against False Accusations Decree, otherwise known as Decree 4 of 1984.

If such is allowed, truth would then be subordinate to what? It is no media’s fault that national headlines of most news daily are full of security topics. Media don’t create events. No one should be in disagreement with the truth, we all should support telling the truth.

Before this regime, broadcasters had always been collaborating with the government in dealing with the security challenges. It is the cracks that collapse the building, the NBC letter titled, ‘Newspaper Reviews and Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution’, truly shows there is serious need for caution on part of FG too.

As how the details may have an adverse implication on the efforts of our security officials who are duty-bound to deal with the insurgency. What are the ‘too many details’ as claimed by the NBC, as this government may not be able to separate facts from its own fictions and be able to know and agree with the needed truths.

No professional media house would glamourise activities of insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, bandits against the state and people. But indirect lying in the name of underreporting figures is not good advice, the government must not forget this. Advising guests and analysts  on live programmes not to polarise the citizenry with divisive rhetoric, in driving home their point is good. But to coarse guests before the show is not only against their freedom of speech but also to the fundamental human rights.

FG better fall into the right space. All over the world, information is key because information is power the media reports activities and does not made them

Not giving details of either the security issues or victims of these security challenges as stated by the government seems not in any way helping the efforts of the Nigerian soldiers and other security agents either. Except keeping everyone in total darkness.

The issue of ‘don’t report details of attack’ is truly rather confusing. When there is an attack without the accurate figure(s) the story is then what. A good question, that deserves good answers. When there was an attack with one hundred and two students kidnapped, FG wants broadcast platforms not to report the number but only the attack.

Patriotism is a major word; the media is tasked to report truth and nothing but the truth. The media does not create events; reportage is our assigned civic duty. This regime should not misplace its priority. Don’t stop the media from reporting terrorist attacks, but stop the terrorists’ attacks.

*Ayobrown is a Senior System Analyst, National Pilot Newspaper, he writes via

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