CIVIL Society Consortium on Civic Space has condemned the directive issued by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to media houses on reporting terrorist activities and insecurity within the country.
In a statement released on Monday, Convener of the Consortium Mbaseki Martin Obono described the directive as an attempt to shrink the civic space and endanger the lives of Nigerian citizens by the government.
Obono stated that Nigerians needed to have more access to security information so as to make safe decisions concerning movement within dangerous areas in the country.
“The order can cause more deaths and destruction of properties if citizens cannot access information about dangers ahead of time. Preventing media organizations from reporting insecurity is not only a breach of the constitutional rights of the media, it will portend unjust and avoidable casualty in the country,” he said.
The statement described the order as a breach of citizens’ rights to information which could affect their choices in the upcoming elections.
“As a Consortium, the attempt to gag the media is a direct attack on the fundamental rights of every citizen of Nigeria. Media organizations in Nigeria already self-censor their reports and they do not need further official directives from the federal government on how to operate,” it read.
Nigerians have criticised the directive issued by the NBC on July 7, warning media organisations against ‘glamourising’ and detailing reports on terrorist activities in Nigeria.
Reacting to the order, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had, on Sunday, issued a letter to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the directive, describing reports on terrorist attacks as a matter of public interest.
“The broad definitions of what may constitute ‘too many details,’ ‘glamourising’ and ‘divisive rhetoric’ heighten concerns of overreach, confer far-reaching discretion, and suggest that the directive is more intrusive than necessary,” it read.
Media chiefs within the country have refused to be deterred by the directive and advised the president to tackle security challenges rather than make attempts to gag the media.