The International Press Institute (IPI), Nigeria Union of Journalists, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, others has condemned the order by the Zamfara State government to shut down some broadcast stations operating in the state.
The IPI Nigeria made this known in a statement signed by its President, Musikilu Mojeed, on Sunday, October 16, 2022
The affected media houses are the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria’s (FRCN) Pride FM, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Gamji Television, Vision FM and Al Umma Television ) in Gusau, the state capital.
Mojeed, stated that the Zamfara State government does not have the power to shut down media houses “And calls on the Zamfara State Police Commissioner not to enforce an illegal directive by the government.
“The order by the state government clearly violates the 1999 Constitution as amended, and has no place in a civilised society like ours. It reminds Nigerians of the dark days of the military in Nigeria when media organisations were clamped down by various authoritarian regimes.”
According to him, shutting down media houses is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria.
“If any media organisation has flouted any law, the only option opened to the Zamfara State government is to approach the court for redress. Resorting to self help as done by the Zamfara State government threatens the rule of law and could lead to anarchy.
“By shutting down media houses the Zamfara State government has taken the law into its own hands. No entity, no matter how powerful, is allowed to take the law into its hands.”
The IPI Nigeria President, therefore, reiterated its demand for immediate withdrawal of all directives impeding freedom of expression in Zamfara State
“And demands an apology from the state government for its obnoxious act.
“IPI Nigeria also calls on federal authorities to direct the Zamfara State governor to comply with the dictates of the rule of law by immediately withdrawing the order for the shutting down of the media organisations, and henceforth desist from any such act.
Nigeria Union of Journalists
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) called on the Zamfara State Security Council, headed by Governor Bello Matawalle to rescind its decision to shut down the media organisations.
The NUJ made the call in a statement issued on Sunday by its National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman
“For a State Government to arbitrarily override a section of the Nigerian constitution and the National Broadcasting Commission-NBC code, in a democracy like ours, which recognises the role of the mass media, and the freedom of expression for its citizens speaks volume of the level of impunity the county has descended into.
“It is instructive to emphasise that the media have a very crucial role to play in monitoring security institutions and their personnel thereby helping citizens to understand what is taking place all the time and to enable them make informed decisions.
“It is therefore counterproductive to attempt to muzzle free and independent media which are key elements in a democracy where they perform important roles as transmission buckles between the society and those who govern.
“We quickly wish to remind the Chairman of the Zamfara State Security Council who is the Governor of the State to tread with caution because such ill-timed, hasty decisions taken without due deliberation will only aggravate the already fragile nature of security in the State. This development clearly negates the efforts to strengthen peace and restore normalcy in Zamfara State, and to promote democracy and development.”
The NUJ, therefore, urged Governor Matawalle and members of the Zamfara State Security Council to “Correct this negative development, taking into consideration the fact that freedom of the media is essential in enabling democracy, free and participative societies.”
The Zamfara state Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Dosara in a radio broadcast on Saturday said that the affected media organisations had violated their professional ethics.
He accused the stations of attending and covering a political rally organised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the State.
According to Dosara, the State Government had suspended all political activities in the State for security reasons, as such journalists are not expected to carry out their professional responsibilities as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution in Chapter 2 Section 22, which states that “ The Press, Radio, Television and other agencies of mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter (Chapter 2 of the Constitution) and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.”
The State Governor, Mohammed Bello Matawalle, on Saturday ordered the immediate shutdown of some public and private media organisations, for allegedly breaking “Journalism laws.”
The Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria
The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria is an association that is in charge of private and public broadcasters in Nigeria. It is in charge of monitoring the activities, coordination and management of televisions, radio and all media broadcasts in Nigeria.