Sunday, 8 June 2014

We did not harass media-Presidency

The Presidency on Saturday has denied the reported harassment of media workers and seizing some newspapers
on Friday and Saturday; which was carried out by the military.
This clarification was made by the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the President, Mr Doyin Okupe while addressing the media in his office. 
“We wish to state categorically that these reports are untrue, unfair and totally not in consonance with the posture of Mr. President on issues concerning Press freedom,” he said.
He stated that the President is in love with the media and would not do anything to jeopardize press freedom; and has shown this by signing the Freedom of Information Act in 2011. He denied the report that the content of the newspapers led to their clamp down, but rather it was based on security reasons.
“The reported incidence of checks being carried out by the military on major Nigerian roads and cities is not targeted at newspaper vans because of the contents of the publications as insinuated in the reports. Rather, the military had explained that those routine checks were being carried out following intelligence reports on the possibility of some elements within the society using such vehicles to convey “materials with grave security implications across the country”.
“While we sympathize with media houses which might have suffered one discomfort or the other as a result of these security checks, we assert, for the avoidance of doubt, that the President has not and will never give any order capable of hampering the smooth running of any media organization or harass media practitioners in the lawful performance of their duties,”, he stated.
In a prophetic mode; he gave insights that the raid will continue on the media houses until the security situations are curbed, but assured that their personal freedom will not be tampered with.
“We have received assurances from the military that no personal liberties of media practitioners or their employees will be unlawfully tampered with and that as soon as there is significant reduction in the level of the security alert, the ongoing exercise will be relaxed.”
“We live in very trying times which may necessitate that some section or sectors of the society might experience some temporary discomfort in the overall interest of ensuring that the ideals of freedom, peace and security which we all hold dear will not be compromised by a few unscrupulous elements in our midst”, he said.
The military had on Friday and Saturday seized newspapers and even destroyed some copies belonging to the Leadership, The Nation, and Punch Newspapers. Area 1 which is the general distribution centre was also closed down by the brutal soldiers, while harassing circulation officers.



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