President Bola Tinubu recently took a sharp stance against press freedom by withdrawing the accreditation of 25 journalists covering the Presidential Villa.
This unprecedented action, which occurred without any clear explanation, has sent shockwaves through the Nigerian media landscape and raised significant concerns about the state of journalism under Tinubu’s government.
To unravel the possible motivations behind this crackdown on media access, we delve into the intricacies of this decision, shedding light on why Bola Tinubu’s administration might have taken such a controversial step.
Concerns about overcrowding or logistics
Tinubu’s decision to withdraw the accreditation of 25 journalists covering the Presidential Villa could be based on concerns about overcrowding and logistics.
Managing a large number of journalists and media personnel in a limited space can be challenging, impacting the efficiency of presidential events and posing security risks.
However, these decisions should always be balanced with the fundamental principles of press freedom and transparency to avoid undermining democracy.
Tinubu may want to avoid close scrutiny
The decision of President Bola Tinubu to withdraw accreditation from specific journalists may, in part, be motivated by a desire to avoid close scrutiny and maintain a level of control over the narrative surrounding his government.
The media plays a vital oversight function in a democratic society, acting as a watchdog that holds public officials accountable for their actions.
By limiting access to certain journalists, Tinubu could potentially reduce the chances of critical reporting that might scrutinize his policies, decisions, or potential controversies.
Control information narratives
Another reason why Tinubu could have banned these journalists may be his desire to control the narratives surrounding his government.
The president may likely want to maintain a positive public image to ensure his political career remains unscathed. By controlling the narrative, he can influence how the public perceives his actions and policies, potentially avoiding negative press that could tarnish his reputation.
Tinubu may also wish to prioritize messaging that aligns with his government’s agenda. By restricting access to specific journalists, he can ensure that his administration’s key messages are conveyed without unwanted criticism or differing viewpoints.
The affected media houses may have trespassed in the past
The possibility of past media trespass, including false reports or critical condemnation of Bola Tinubu’s policies adds another layer of complexity to the decision to withdraw accreditation from certain media outlets.
Reports say that the banned journalists include those from Vanguard newspaper; Galaxy TV; Ben TV; MITV; ITV Abuja; PromptNews, ONTV, and Liberty. Other media personnel affected by the withdrawal are mostly reporters and cameramen from broadcast, print, and online media outlets.
If Tinubu believes that some media houses have engaged in unethical journalism practices, spreading false information, or consistently criticizing his policies, it may contribute to a strained relationship between the government and those media organizations.
To control the media
President Tinubu could have revoked the accreditations of these journalists because of a desire to tame the media. Recall that Tinubu said he stopped using social media because it gives him blood pressure.
In a viral video clip, Tinubu said, “I don’t read social media anymore; they abuse the hell out of me. If I read it, I get high blood pressure. I get angry. I don’t read it. So, if I want to hear anything, my children or my workers will tell me ‘This one said this’. If I am tired, I say please, forget it.”
It is believed that the lesser the media houses, the easier it is to control.
Nigeria celebrated its 63rd Independence Day on the 1st of October 2023, against a backdro…