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Media not disposed to giving terrorists exposure, say editors

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The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has stated that journalists were not terrorists and bandits’ best friends, as being insinuated by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and so, will never be disposed to giving the blood-thirsty criminals any exposure.

The editors noted that given the fact that the media has a responsibility to assist the country in overcoming the rising banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism in Nigeria, the practitioners would remain responsible and responsive in their reports.

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The group deplored NBC’s recent directive warning journalists, television, and radio stations against “glamourising and giving too many details on the nefarious activities of terrorists and kidnappers” during their daily newspaper reviews.

The order was 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, Balarabe IIebah.

In a statement signed by NGE’s President and general secretary, Mustapha Isah and Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the professionals insisted that the directive was unhelpful, describing it as a subtle threat to free press, freedom of expression, access to information, and victims’ right to justice, which are essential to public debate and accountability in a democratic space.

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The guild added that given the “consistent anti-media policy of NBC in recent times”, its members are concerned about what the commission meant by the expansive definitions of what may constitute “too many details”, “glamorizing”, “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’’, it explained.

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The editors said the media was very mindful of its responsibility in the 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 trustworthy along with this mission in the last few years.

NGE continued: “While we are mindful of our responsibility at this trying moment of 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.”

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