We are still reeling from the shock of the NBC shutting down AIT and Raypower yesterday, private media outfits owned by Daar Communications Limited. Twitter has been buzzing with disgruntled and wildly disapproving tweets since the news broke, rippling with the same message – that gagging the media is extremely bad for Nigeria’s democracy and how Buhari’s government is insidiously morphing into a familiar dictatorship.
The reason for the ban has been a random tweet critiquing Buhari and that was propagated on AIT’s social media show. Top-tier politicians and figures from the PDP have spoken against the indefinite suspension of AIT and Raypower, including former presidential candidate Oby Ezekwesili. In a blizzard of tweets via her Twitter account, Ezekwesili expressed the same overarching sentiment of the NBC sanction of the media, saying we must always speak up against acts of repression and defend our democracy at all times.
Furthermore, she made a brilliant summary of the sanction letter from the NBC to AIT, and the important takeaway is that the government, using the NBC as a foot soldier, wants AIT to like NTA, malleable and easy to control.
My Summary of this lengthy Sanctions letter from NBC to AIT is simply this:
“We have warned you several times in the past to stop broadcasting things that upset the Government and NBC. You refused to listen. Now we shall shut you up and down until you are ready to be like NTA” pic.twitter.com/X6nbQaMDo4
— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) June 7, 2019
One of the tenets of democracy is press freedom, but the suspension of AIT and Raypower shows that we are yet to embrace full democracy.