National Orientation Agency (NOA) has charged Editors of Newspapers and electronic media to be properly scrutinizing the news reports, articles being sent to them by their reporters and columnists in order to ensure that they were objective and devoid of sentiments.
Director-General of the agency, Dr. Garba Abari, gave the charge yesterday while delivering a lecture titled “Why Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech” at a National Conference organised by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kano.
According to him, the media had, in recent times, “given ethnic and religious colourations” to the farmers and herders clashes in parts of the country emphasising that the conflicts had nothing to do with religion or ethnicity.
The NOA boss urged the media to remain neutral in the discharge of their constitutional duties in line with the ethics of journalism, and advised newspaper columnists and opinion leaders to “help in promoting peace and national unity through their write-ups rather than escalating the existing animosity among the diverse compatriots.”
Araze, who said the Constitution had granted freedom of expression to all citizens, however, pointed out that “any speech that disparages a particular group of people or promotes hatred is not a free speech and should not be carried by the media.”
He urged “relevant authorities to work assiduously in curbing the proliferation of hate speeches in the country before it degenerates into a more serious problem.”