By Adewale Sanyaolu
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has been criticised over its alleged growing partisanship in the discharge of its regulatory role in the broadcasting industry.
National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) reacting to the query issued Channels TV and summoning of journalists over the interview granted Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said the action was clearly an act of “professional intimidation, disrespect for democratic ethos and a flagrant abuse of regulatory power.”
The NAS Capoon, Abiola Owoaj in a statement titled, “On NBC increasing assault on press freedom” said the action of NBC is unbecoming of an impartial regulator.
“The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) deplores this reaction of the NBC to the interview granted by Governor Ortom. We wish to restate our concerns over the Commission’s incredible disdain for professional journalistic ethics and political neutrality, a blatantly partisan interpretation of its core mandate and a growing intolerance for freedom of expression by Nigerians, and by extension press freedom. Its predilection to suppress views considered dissenting or critical of the government through harassment, and intimidation of broadcasting stations is unbecoming of the professionalism and patriotism expected of a regulatory agency. NBC has regrettably reduced itself to an appendage of the current administration, awkwardly abandoning its core mandate to create an enabling environment for broadcasting to thrive in our country,” he said
According to Owoaje, NBC actions have contributed to make Reporters Without Borders rank Nigeria 120 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index listing the country as one of the worst countries for journalists to stay.
He drew NBC’s action to the constitutional role of the media to hold government accountable on behalf of the people as enshrined Section 22 of the Nigeria’s Constitution, adding that if the government fails in its primary responsibility to secure lives and property, it is incumbent on the media to hold government accountable to its constitutional responsibility.