Wednesday, January 15, 2014

UNN protests alleged biased reporting by AIT

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Mr.  Emeka Mba
Director General
Nigerian Broadcasting Commission

Plot20, Ibrahim Taiwo Street
(ByAso Villa), Asokoro, Abuja

Dear Sir,


We write to draw your attention to and officially complain against the consistent broadcast of negative and false information about the University of Nigeria by the African Independent Television (AIT) designed to create the impression that the University of Nigeria is under siege.

The latest instance of this deliberate false reportage is the news broadcast on the 8pm news belt by AIT on Friday, January 10, 2014. The report claimed that youths of Nsukka town were demonstrating against the removal of Sir Dr.  Emeka  Enejere as Pro-Chancellor as well as alleged cutting off of electricity and water supplies to their village by the University management. Video clips of some people, mostly men, carrying placards and chanting songs were also shown. In the same report it was further claimed that University of Nigeria staff had been on strike even after ASUU called off its strike and that this has led to the total shutdown of the institution.

These claims are intentional lies as is well known to AIT. The intent of such biased and untrue reportage is to create a sense of siege and mass panic concerning the University of Nigeria.

The reports are a clear breach of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, 5th Edition, 2010. In particular, it goes against Section 1.3.2 of the Code, which stipulates, “The broadcaster shall observe caution, empathy and due sensitivity in coverage and presentation of emergencies, calamities, riots, griefs etc”. Section 1.3.4 of the Code also states, “Sensationalism shall be avoided by refraining from speculations and statements, details or exaggerations that could aggravate mass panic or hysteria”.

You will recall that the University of Nigeria, like other federal universities, was affected by the strike action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) against the Federal Government. In addition, there was a misunderstanding between the former Pro-Chancellor and management of the University, which culminated in the removal of the former Pro-Chancellor by the Federal Government. Some factions of the staff unions sympathetic to the former Pro-Chancellor issued a press conference making spurious allegations against the Supervising Minister of Education, Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission and the Vice-Chancellor. These few individuals assembled for a few days to pray for evil men, according to them.

However, following the suspension of ASUU strike, the University of Nigeria has since reopened and full academic activities resumed in all our campuses. It is very unfair for AIT to carry out such a report when normalcy had returned to our University. We believe that a news media of the status of AIT ought to be objective and unbiased in news reporting rather than spreading false information and misleading the uninformed public with sensational journalism.

We are constrained to report this to you for necessary action and retraction, and to also forestall further misinformation and negative publicity about the University of Nigeria by the African Independent Television (AIT).

Please accept the assurances of our highest regards.
Yours sincerely,

Professor Bartho N. Okolo
Vice Chancellor

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Federal Government of Nigeria
Aso Rock Villa

The Supervising Minister of Education
Federal Ministry of Education
Federal Secretariat

The Permanent Secretary
Federal Ministry of Education
Federal Secretariat

The Executive Secretary
National Universities Commission
Aja Nwachukwu House
No. 26 Aguiyi lronsi Street
Maitama District, Abuja

The Director (Tertiary Education)
Federal Ministry of Education
Federal Secretariat

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