Joe Effiong, Uyo
The President of African Council for Communication Education (ACCE) Prof Nnamdi Ekeanynwu as challenged the National Broadcasting Commission ((NBC) to set up an independent body to investigate any professional breach by mainstream media in the coverage of #EndSARS protest instead of being an accuser and a judge in the same case
Till that happens, the ACCE boss has asked NBC to immediately withdraw the sanctions it imposed on three media firms over the coverage of Endsars protest.
Recall that the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, had on Monday fined Nigerian media houses including AIT, Channels TV and Arise News, claiming they used unverifiable video footage from social media to cover the #EndSARS protests.
In a release signed by the National President, African Council for Communication Education, Prof. Nnamdi T. Ekeanyanwu and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Tuesday, ACCE advised NBC to rather set up an appropriate body to investigate the mainstream media coverage of the ENDSARS protests.
Ekeanyanwu noted that with recent happenings in Nigeria, which have shown that the media, not the judiciary, should be regarded as the last hope of the people, especially the so-called common man,, every act that will smack off an attempt to muzzle the media must be resisted.
According to him: “Our expectation is that NBC should use fines and other punitive measures as last resort. A proper investigation should precede any such punitive measures.
“There should be room for warning letters and cautions before such heavy sanctions that could be misconstrued as an attempt to muzzle the hard-earned freedom of the media.
“ACCE therefore calls on the NBC to immediately withdraw the sanctions already imposed on the
three media firms and set up an appropriate body to investigate the mainstream media coverage of the ENDSARS protests and ensuing violence.
“The outcome of the investigative panel would definitely form part of future guidelines for most mainstream media in future handling of related conflicts”. the statement read
He congratulates the mainstream media for their show of professionalism in the midst of danger during the coverage of the ENDSARS protests and the violence that followed
The National President therefore assured that “ACCE will remain at the forefront to protect media freedom as well as continue in her noble role in the training and retraining of media professionals to remain responsible, responsive, and professional in the discharge of their duties”.
Ekeanyanwu however condemns in totality any media establishment that must have used unverified video footage in its coverage.
While drumming supports for the rights of any segment of the population to a peaceful protest and legitimate agitation, the council also condemned, in very strong terms, the violence, wanton destruction of both public and private property and the widespread looting that took place all over the country during the protest.
“The Council also condemns in totality every form of extrajudicial killings that may have taken place during the period and calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately set up a judicial body of enquiry to bring the perpetrators to book”. He added