By Abubakar Ahmed
Zamfara Government, on Thursday, said it had enlisted the services of the Police, the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC Civil defence to monitor media reports of insecurity in the state.
Mallam Ibrahim Dosara, Zamfara Commissioner of Information, who announced what will certainly be interpreted as attempt to gag the media at a joint press briefing with security agencies in Gusau, the state capital on Thursday said he will also be part of the monitoring team.
He said he has been specifically saddled with the responsibility of ensuring compliance to professionalism in media practices among journalists practicing in the state.
Dosara added that security agencies in Zamfara would also monitor news reports and take appropriate action against unprofessional conduct.
The monitoring, he said, will cover the conventional and the social media.
He said that the measure was in “cognisance of the ill effects of fake news, unguarded utterances by members of both conventional and the social media.”
“The Zamfara state government among its resolutions recently adopted to take appropriate action against unprofessional conducts in media practices.
“The state government realises that the print and electronic media activities, especially the social media handlers undermine the peace process of the state government.
“Let me emphasize here that the state government will never continue to condone the unwholesome act.
“Consequent upon this, the state commissioner of information and security chiefs in the state have been directed to monitor the conduct of media practitioners in the state.
“The Commissioner of Police, the DSS, the Civil defence and I, as commissioner, have been saddled with the responsibility of ensuring compliance to professionalism in media practices.
“As well as cyber crimes and the violation of public peace, fundamental human rights and the rule of law,” Dosara said.
On the state government’s peace process, the commissioner said it had removed the battleline earlier drawn between bandits and members of vigilantè groups, and facilitated the surrender of arms by many criminals.
According to him, the killings, maiming, wanton destruction of properties had also been brought to the barest minimum across the state.
The commissioner stressed that the government would not allow sabotage of the peace process.
Dosara, however, applauded journalists working in line with the ethics of the profession, who give objective and balanced reports on all matters, especially security issues, and avoid arm-chair journalism and biase in their news reports.
The commissioner assured that the government and security agencies would respond quickly to inquiries from the media to issues as they arise, “so that the journalists are not unnecessarily delayed.”