The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) denounced the clampdown by the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led Federal Government on major broadcast stations, including AIT, Channels and ARISE TV, over their reporting of the #EndSARS protest in different parts of the country.
The disclosure was contained in a statement signed by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
The party argues that the rush by the National Broadcast Commission (NBC) to impose monetary fines on television stations smacks of a fresh effort to further gag the media, censor free expression and access to information for Nigerians.
Indeed, if anything, this clampdown on broadcasting stations has heightened widespread public apprehension of attempts during the demonstration to hide information and destroy material evidence relating to human rights abuses.
In reality, this NBC show of high-handedness has greatly detracted from the efforts made by well-meaning Nigerians at this crucial time to douse the tension in the land and reassure Nigerians.
This hasty clampdown should be rescinded by the NBC and its regulatory role should be done more professionally.
“Our party maintains that drastic steps should not be an option in the course of information handling, particularly in a crisis situation as we witnessed in the last two weeks, where caution is required. Rather, all efforts should be towards national healing.”
Nigerians would rather expect institutions such as the NBC to be on the side of the people rather than attempting to gag the media by encouraging government agencies to come up with facts, particularly such as vital pieces of evidence that would guarantee justice by unscrupulous security operatives for victims of brutality.
PDP further directs Nigerians to be careful, especially in the handling of data, “we urge government agencies to be aware of acts that are capable of exacerbating the already precarious position in which we have found ourselves.”