Stop antagonizing the military, editors chief tells media
The President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) Femi Adesina, has reminded the media that its hostility towards the military may jeopardise national security.
He stated this in his paper presented during a workshop in Lagos, titled “Impact of Military/Media-relations in Promoting National Peace and Security”
He described the relationship between the Nigerian media and the Military as “wary”, a situation with dire consequences on national security.
. According to him, “Nigeria is in the trouble she has found herself today because relationship between the federating units, the different ethnic nationalities and groups, has gone awry.
And this underscores the need for positive, harmonious relationship between the military and the media, because it has great implications for peace and security in the country.”
The workshop which was organised by the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI), Lagos, is according to the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division Tamuno-Mebi Dibi, a way of creating a synergy between media practitioners in Nigeria and the military.
He added that, hitherto, the military, as regimented organization, was more unto itself until of late when it decided to open its doors to media practitioners for information flow. According to him, “in doing so, the military cannot, as a matter of fact, over-look its role as the custodian of the National intelligence. That is where I appeal to our media friends to co-operate with us in building a unified nation.”
Earlier, Adesina, added that the relationship between the media and the military in Nigeria has gone through many phases, ranging from hostility, to brutality, to mutual suspicion, and then, to the wary collaboration that currently exists.
According to him, under military rule, the media and military were like cat and mouse. Mineri Amakiri had his head shaven with broken bottle under Commander Alfred Diette-Spiff as governor of old Rivers State. Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor were jailed under Decree 4, during the Buhari/Idiagbon regime.
“Many journalists were beaten up, doubled up, harassed, and traumatized in different parts of the country. The result was mutual antagonism between the two institutions, when they should rather collaborate for peace and security. Each wants to do the other in, when they should rather understand their differences, and collaborate for the sake of the country.”
He maintained that in recent years, however, particularly with the advent of democratic rule, the relationship got a lot better. The military knew it had to subordinate itself to the laws of the land (which are non-martial) and they began to work better with the media.
“It seemed an amicable relationship was being forged, till insurgency in the North East got to a height, and the military set the relationship backwards in June this year, confiscating the products of newspaper houses under the spurious guise that the distribution vehicles of newspaper houses were to be used to ferry obnoxious materials round the country.”
He stressed that for the three days that the onslaught on media houses lasted, grave injury was done to the relationship between the military and the media, and old wounds were re-opened. It constituted a big setback in a relationship that had got progressively better.
“For me, as President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the June crackdown on the media was particularly sad, as on April 10, 2014, there had been an unprecedented closing of ranks between the media and the security agencies.”
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