Media veterans condemn closure of Imo radio station
The president of the National Association of Veteran Media Practitioners of Nigeria (NAVMPN), Ben Osuagwu has condemned in unequivocal terms the unprofessional closure of an Imo state radio station, Ozisa FM Owerri, by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
In a release made available to newsmen, Osuagwu described the closure of the station as highly provocative and unwarranted, adding that the way and manner the NBC hurriedly shut down the station “portends grave danger to the future of the broadcast industry in Nigeria.”
He said the NBC acted hurriedly without proper investigation, due process and primitively, without considering the guidelines and set standards recommended in the broadcast industry.
Osuagwu said: “Following the news of the Awommama massacre of youth who went for one of their brothers’ traditional wedding alleged to have been perpetrated by the Ebubeagu security outfit set up by the Imo state government, the onus lies on the NBC to conduct thorough independent investigation with the other security outfits to find out the veracity of the report and come up with the result of their investigation and if the report from the station is found to be false, it can use the sledge hammer on them. But if not, the NBC should allow the station to continue with its duty of informing, educating, entertaining, socialising, mobilising and proper recanalising the people’s attitude.”
Osuagwu, a former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Imo state council, noted that since the people whose relations were massacred said that it was the Ebubeagu security outfit that carried out the dastardly act, the NBC should have interviewed them with a view to find out the truth, adding that security outfits were meant to protect lives and property of citizens and not to decimate them.
He made it clear that the era of unbridled clamping down on media houses had gone and it smacked of unnecessary wielding of the big stick.
“Even if it was the DSS that murdered innocent civilians in cold blood as the state government claimed in a statement and the media exposed it, is it justifiable or unjustifiable? To all right thinking citizens, media exposure of wicked, violent, and happenings in the society is highly justifiable. It is when such happens that the media will be said to have lived up to its responsibilities.”