By ABUBAKAR YUNUSA Abuja
Former minister of interior,Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd.),has charged Nigerian journalist to filter and shape conversion around national security, adding that media has a constitutional duty to check the activities of government and the the mouthpiece of the citizens.
Dambazau made the comment during the virtual meeting organized by Whitink Institute for Strategic Education and Research (WISER) tagged: mass Media and intersection of national security and the civic space in Nigeria,in Abuja, yesterday.
He said “A thriving mass media guarantees a well-functioning government,which also guarantees the welfare of the people,” he said
Dambazau advised the media in playing its roles to ensure a balance between freedom of expression and the constitutional responsibilities of other institutions and the rights of citizens to be able to guarantee the safety of lives and property.
The lead partner,SBM Intelligence,Cheta Nwanze, that there has been a regression in democratic values across the African continent, including Nigeria, which has led to a clampdown and attacks on the media and the civic space. This, he said, is a threat to democracy – and has led to increased insecurity in Nigeria.
“Attacks on the media consequently leads to attacks on civil liberties. The more attention that is given to the military via allocations, the less attention there is for social needs. This weakens our democracy. Democracy dies in the darkness and we all have a lot of work to do, as national cohesion can only be built on a firm economic bedrock.”
“For democracy and security to thrive, said the government – particularly the military, the media and CSOs must work together to clearly identify and define what is national security interest, and educate the citizens accordingly to avoid working at cross process”.
On his part, Brig. Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman (rtd.), former Director of Public Relations, Nigerian Army, said the democratisation of the media space – with the coming of social media – has further complicated the security challenges with conflicting information constantly dished out from several platforms.
“A free press is an existential feature of a democratic society,” he said, adding that “there is a need to balance national security considerations with freedom of expression.”