Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Forceful Closure of Channels TV: A Signal for Another Military Nightmare

Press Statement

Forceful Closure of Channels TV: A Signal for Another Military Nightmare

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) totally condemns the September 16 barbaric closure of the Channels Television by the armed operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) at the behest of the Yar’Adua government, and calls for its immediate re-opening and apology by government to the station and public for this crude military-like assault.

This media organisation was shut down on the excuse that it had aired a report alleging that President Yar’Adua was planning to resign. This highhanded action of Yar’Adua government, which is reminiscent of the military absolutism, has further rubbished the much-touted rule of law and due process posturing of the administration.

Instead of resorting to the arbitrary and reprehensible self-help approach, the government led by a supposedly civil President Umar Yar’Adua should have gone to court if it felt that the TV station had committed any offence.

This action is indicative of the capacity of the Yar’Adua government to unleash the state apparatus of terror on any divergent view or action protesting the policies of the government.

Interestingly, the attack on the Channels came on the very day the Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, informed the world at an EFCC organized forum that the government was willing to pass a Freedom of Information bill as part of its respect for free media and wider democratic rights.

We urge on the management of the Channels TV not to leave this unjustifiable and unprovoked assault unchallenged. A public apology must be demanded, at the same time the management of the TV station should equally demand adequate financial compensation for the losses and humiliation suffered as a result of this act of brigandage.

While commending the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State Chapter for denouncing this barbaric act, we enjoin Labour, socialist and pro-masses’ organisations not to take this assault on the cardinal principle of constitutional governance lightly because of its implication on larger polity. Lest we forget, the last military dispensation was characterized by arbitrary closure of the individual media houses as well as arrest of the opponents of the military rule.

If after nine years of return to the civil rule, the state security apparatus still operates with the psychology of an army of occupation over a conquered territory, then it is the time the working people needed to respond emphatically that never again will they tolerate military arbitrary rule under any guise whatsoever. We therefore demand that all the security officers involved in this uncivil assault on the Channels TV should be identified and brought to book. This is the only way the Yar’Adua administration could successfully wash its hand off this crude violation of a central principle of civil rules that guarantee freedom of expression and the press.

Finally, to prevent similar occurrence, Labour, socialist and pro-masses’ organisations should immediately come up with concrete action to put in place a working class peoples’ political alternative that could wrest power from the self-serving ruling elite at all levels and usher a working peoples’ government that is responsive to the needs and aspiration of the masses. Only such a government will have nothing to hide from the people, and as such will have no cause to arbitrarily implement policies just to satisfy the hollow ego of those that currently find themselves in power.

Segun Sango
General Secretary
Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)