The decision by industry regulator, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to penalise Arise Television, Channels Television and AIT over what it alleges as unprofessional coverage of the #EndSARS protests across the country further exposes the nation’s anti-democratic tendencies.
Rather than trying to muzzle the media, we suggest that the NBC should applaud media coverage of the protests and the professionalism of Journalists who despite the enormous risks to their lives ensured a comprehensive coverage of the protests.
This development is of major concern to the Union as journalists and media organisations are targets of attack by both protesters and Government. The media, despite all its perceived short comings remains the most viable tool for good governance and democracy and should be jealously guarded and protected.
Actions like this only bring back unpleasant memories of the long tenure of Military rule and the established culture of intolerance against the media when Nigeria recorded her most grievous crimes against the industry. Sadly, we are once more witnessing actions that seek to undermine the profession by both State and non-State actors.
We call for an end to this open contempt and disrespect for the Media by NBC and note that the fines imposed on the media houses is unnecessary, discriminatory, an attempt to discourage a free, independent media, and should be withdrawn immediately.