The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has condemned the recent action by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, over the interview granted by Governor Samuel Ortom on Channels TV.
The group described the action of the NBC as overbearing, adding that the Commission’s action was clearly an act of “professional intimidation, disrespect for democratic ethos and a flagrant abuse of regulatory power.”
The group’s Capoon, Abiola Owoaje, who signed the statement containing the group’s stand, said the action of NBC was unbecoming of an impartial regulator.
“The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) 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,” it said.
The group said that the agency by its recent actions, has reduced itself to an appendage of the Buhari administration and has abandoned its core mandate to create an enabling environment for broadcasting to thrive.
He drew NBC’s attention to the constitutional role of the media to hold government accountable on behalf of the people as enshrined Section 22 of Nigeria’s Constitution.
He added 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.
“The government by its reaction to Governor Ortom’s interview has missed an opportunity to reassure the public of its good faith and positive intentions, on the serious security concerns of the citizenry.”
The group said that rather than react to Ortom’s allegations with irrefutable facts, the government had resorted to clandestine tactics to escape the necessary scrutiny of a democratic system that derives its powers from the designated sovereign will of the people.
“To be sure, it must be stressed that press freedom is not a matter of choice that is dependent on prescribed behaviour, but a fundamental pillar of a healthy democratic system,” it added.
According to the group, the Nigerian media has the resilience to outlive draconian regimes; the Buhari government will not be an exception.
The group said that “the administration should rather concentrate on delivering on its mandate to secure the lives and property of our people, promote their welfare, instead of chasing shadows by using government agencies to harass Nigerians.”