Senate President Akpabio Bars over 10 TV Stations,  Photojournalists from Covering Proceedings

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Senate President Akpabio Bars Multiple TV Stations and Photojournalists from Covering Proceedings.

In a move widely seen as another example of autocratic tendencies under the administration of President Bola Tinubu, Senate President Godswill Akpabio on Tuesday barred over 10 television stations and photojournalists from covering the proceedings of the Senate without providing any explanation.

This development comes amid growing concerns about press freedom and the treatment of journalists in Nigeria. In the past seven weeks alone, at least two journalists have been detained without trial by the government, sparking outrage and calls for their immediate release.


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The affected media outlets and photojournalists were not given any reason for the ban, which has been seen as a clear attempt to restrict press coverage and stifle transparency in the Senate’s proceedings.

Critics have slammed the move as a further erosion of democratic norms and a sign of the growing authoritarianism of the Tinubu administration. The Nigerian Union of Journalists has condemned the ban, calling it an “attack on press freedom” and demanding an immediate reversal of the decision.


This incident is the latest in a series of incidents that have raised concerns about the government’s commitment to democratic values and human rights. The detention of journalists and the restriction of press coverage are seen as a threat to the very foundations of democracy and the rule of law.

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Regardless, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in August 2023 alerted the public to the danger of Tinubu banning 25 journalists and media houses from covering the Villa and urged him to reverse the “unlawful ban”. The media outlets banned include Galaxy TV, Ben TV, MITV, ITV Abuja, PromptNews, ONTV, and Liberty.

In September 2023, muckraking journalist David Hundeyin alleged before the United Nations Human Rights Council that Tinubu’s henchmen were taking steps to abduct him from Ghana, where he is on asylum. Hundeyin fled Nigeria to Ghana in 2020 and was granted asylum and refugee status in 2022, and has alleged Tinubu is using security intelligence to mount pressure on the Ghanaian government to repatriate him to Nigeria and get him killed.

On 15 March 2024, First News Editor Segun Olatunji was arrested, detained, and tortured by the military authorities, who kept him in an underground cell in Abuja for two weeks. He was released only after public outcry became deafening. On 1 May 2024, a journalist with Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), Daniel Ojukwu, was detained by the police and has been held without charge or trial since then.


A document signed by Senate Clerk Chinedu Akubueze and pasted at the entrance to the chamber listed only seven media houses that would now cover proceedings. They include the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Channels Television, African Independent Television (AIT), TVC, Arise News, Newage, and ADBN.

The leadership of NASS Press Corps had met with Akubueze to harmonize issues about coverage of Senate proceedings, but journalists who report from the NASS have expressed shock at the decision of the Senate to bar some media houses from covering proceedings while dialogue on the matter is ongoing.

As the situation continues to unfold, many are watching with bated breath to see if the government will reverse its decision and uphold the principles of press freedom and transparency that are essential to a healthy democracy.



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