Africa Independent Television, AIT, was this Monday barred from covering the Federal Governments unveiling of the 2020-2025 broadband plan by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The crew of a reporter and a cameraman had arrived the digital economy complex, venue of the event in Jabi District of Abuja early to set up in line with standard protocols ahead of the arrival of President Muhammad Buhari.
But while they were awaiting the arrival of the president, a deputy director in the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, approached the reporter to notify that AIT has been restricted from covering the event and the crew should pack their equipment and leave the venue immediately.
However, all other major television stations and representatives of the various print media were allowed to remain.
The deputy director said the instruction applies to AIT and one of the national newspapers, stating that no media representative of the two organisations should be seen at the venue.
Significantly, while other television stations were paid for the live broadcast and coverage of the event, AIT crew was deployed to cover the event without any commercial interest, but strictly on the news value content of the event.
Since the current administration assumed office in 2015, ait has provided consistent coverage of activities of the National Communications Commission NCC and the ministry of communications and digital economy without any misunderstanding or complaints.
The official in the NCC who told the crew to leave has also had a good working relationship with the broadcaster, and coveyed the directive with apologies saying he was merely following instructions.
No reason was given for the action taken against ait apart from the statement that it was “a directive from above”.
– AIT Live