In what could be described as press censorship, the All Progressives Congress (APC) today, Thursday, barred some media houses it perceives as ‘hostile’ from covering the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the national Secretariat of the party in Abuja.
Media houses barred from the meeting and premises include; Sun, The Guardian, Telegraph, Blueprint, Tribune, The Union, Peoples Daily, Nigerian Pilot, Daily Times, The Abuja Inquirer, National Mirror, Daily Independent, Liberty Radio, Vision Fm, Authority Newspapers, amongst others originally accredited to cover the party.
The journalists expressed shock and disappointment at the development noting that they have been covering the party even right from its merger and wondered why the new directive barring them.
Though the party has been without spokesperson since Lai Mohammed was appointed minister, but an Assistant director of Media employed by the chairman, Mr. Odegbe Odewingie, told the journalists when approached that the instruction to stop some media houses came from the Presidency.
Another reason given for gagging the media was because the party national chairman has been complaining of getting bad press and as such would not allow media houses that are termed to be ‘hostile’ would be accredited.
When pressed for reason for the unsavoury development, Special Assistant to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Mr. Lanre, revealed that the party is not going to allow unfriendly journalists access to the venue of the NEC meeting.
The latest onslaught is coming barely few days after Lai Mohammed said in Doha as a panelist at the ongoing 2016 Annual Congress of the International Press Institute (IPI) in the Qatari capital that, “under this dispensation, we have never even contemplated stifling the freedom of the media not to talk of hounding them to death.”
”Not a single journalist is in detention in Nigeria today. The government of the day is not a threat to the media, and it is not about to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally guaranteed rights.”