Enough Of This Attempt To Gag Imo Journalists 

The media all over the world function as watchdog of society.
Journalists whose role in holding political leaders accountable for their actiins, are protected by Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution As Amended, are the main actors in the media industry.
 It is however, shocking how politicians fume each time journalists attempt to carryout their mandates as enshrined in the constitution.
As an  American journalist, Fred Fedler wrote, “Journalism is built on reporting government.” More than 70 percent of media reports mostly cover  issues of governance.
So, no politician or government worth its name would want to  vilify a journalist or  media organization for carrying out their statutory mandate with respect to Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution As Amended. Section 39(1) of the same constitution further upholds  or supports that provision.
As a reminder, politicians ought to understand the job of journalists nay the media does not end with tge elections, but continues even when the politicians assume office.
Against this background, it is worth mentioning here that the recent action of the Imo House of Assembly in summoning some staff of Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper over a report bothering on an issue between one of its members and his constituents, could be viewed as as an attempt to gag the press.
This is so as the idea of free press itself is a universal principle.
 There is nexus  between politics in a democracy and the media.
In fact there cannot be democracy without the free speech and press freedom. Over the decades or even centuries, the two have evolved as universally accepted norms and/or feature of every  democratic society.
What is important is for journalists and media practitioners to be factual in their reportage.
Afterall, it is taught in journalism that if you have the facts, publish and be damned.
There are ways or avenues through which a lawmaker, politician or anybody else can express his grievance  if he feels injured by a media report.
Such an one can grant an interview to the same media organisation stating his own side of the story. He can equally write to the media house concerned, demanding a retraction of the said story or publication stating his reasons; failure of which the aggrieved person can go to court if he so wishes.
He can also complain to the Nigeria Press Counsel or other relevant authorities as the case may be.
The resort to what may appear as intimidation in such cases, will not, and has never worked. Hitler was believed to have alluded to the fact that no one fights the media and wins.
We urge politicians to see journalists and the media as partners in progress, and also remember that the same journalists are the  people they run to when  shortchanged or even when they feel threatened.
In this 21st Century, constant threats and intimidation against journalists and media organizations by politicians and  those in power,  are not only condemnable but also barbaric.

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