‘The Letter Is Vague’: NGE President Reacts To NBC’s Directive On Terrorist Attacks Coverage
President, Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) Mustapha Isa, has said the letter containing a directive from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on reporting of terrorist attacks in the country was vague.
The NGE President disclosed this on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.
“My worry about that letter is that it is vague. When you say that don’t give details of security incidents, how detailed are the details? Is NBC saying for instance if there is a kidnap in a school, we shouldn’t report the name of the school, the number of students kidnapped, and the actions of security agents to rescue them?
“So a lot of things are in that letter that we don’t really understand.
“The media is a marketplace of ideas; some can speak for or against an idea. One thing that is clear is that the media will never promote violence.
“I think we need more clarity from NBC as regards that letter.”
Isa stressed that the motive behind the letter remains unclear because it states that it is a caution, but it still went ahead to list what should not be done.
He added that he is against ethnic profiling of criminals but the media will not cease to report incidents as they occur.
“I am against ethnic profiling of criminals. The media will always be patriotic. The media will not glamorise insurgency or kidnapping.
“We are in the business of reporting events, the media doesn’t create events,” Isa stressed.
NBC’s Call For Caution
NBC’s letter dated July 7 had called for caution in reportage of terrorist attacks in the country.
The letter titled, ‘Newspaper Reviews And Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution’, was signed by the Director, Broadcast Monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, on behalf of the new Director-General of the Commission, Balarabe Ilelah.
It asked stations to stop “glamourising the activities of insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, bandits.”
It also added that “While bringing information on security to the doorsteps of Nigerians is a necessity, there is a need for caution.
According to the NBC, “Some of the topics also have ethnological coating thereby, pitching one section of the country against the other and leaving Nigerians in daily hysteria.
“Guests and/or analysts on programmes not to polarise the citizenry with divisive rhetoric, in driving home their point.”
She tasked the media not to give “details of either the security issues or victims of these security challenges so as not to jeopardise the efforts of the Nigerian soldiers and other security agents.”