BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI, ABUJA – The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned what it call an attempt by both State and non-State actors to discourage a free and independent media in the country.

According to the Union, it is a sad commentary that citizens are again witnessing deliberate actions that seek to undermine the journalism profession as a tool for nation building.

Reacting to the fines imposed on three of Nigeria’s major broadcast stations by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), NUJ described it as an “open contempt and disrespect for the Media” by the Commission, note that the so-called sanction is “unnecessary, discriminatory, an attempt to discourage a free, independent media, and should be withdrawn immediately.”

In a statement titled: “Unending Assaults On The Media” and signed by its National President, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, the NUJ said instead of battling to muzzle the media, the National Broadcasting Commission (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.”

It therefore demanded an end to all anti-democratic tendencies aimed at gagging the Nigerian media.

The full text of Comrade Chris Isiguzo statement read thus: “Unending Assaults On The Media”

“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.”

Chris Isiguzo
National President
NUJ

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