The Nigerian government broadcasters have deliberately stayed away from covering rallies held to force the government to do more to free the kidnapped Chibok girls, organisers of the #BringBackOurGirls rally in Abuja have said.
The organisers of the daily rally in Abuja, in a statement released on Tuesday, said it is shocking that the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, have not joined the campaign, covered the rallies, or done any news coverage on the abduction of the Chibok girls.
“It has come as a shock that the only government owned television station, the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and radio station, the Federal Radio Corporation Nigeria (FRCN) which have the sole responsibility of broadcasting all major news in Nigeria have not been covering the BringBackOurGirls campaign,” the protesters said.
The abduction of the over 250 girls from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, drew worldwide angst, condemnation and criticisms over the Nigerian Government’s lack-lustre handling of the rescue efforts or information on the abduction.
The anger propped up a trending hashtag – #BringBackOurGirls- with calls for foreign assistance and lamentations that the foreign media had sparing coverage of the abduction.
Subsequently, there was a flurry of international media including American based CNN, Aljazeera, and the BBC, sending reporters to Nigeria and giving broad coverage of the abduction and the mayhem in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Embarrassed by what it described as the lack of coverage in the federal government owned stations, the #BringBackOurGirls rally said it will march to the address of both the NTA and the FRCN to inform them they have a responsibility to report the story.
“It was resolved that the campaign will march on to NTA and FRCN to inform them that they have a responsibility to report the biggest trending story in Nigeria and the world.
“Their irresponsible and unethical behaviour will also be reported to the relevant professional bodies,” Jibrin Ibrahim, one of the protesters who also acts as the spokesperson, of the protesters said in a statement.
Mr. Ibrahim, a human rights activist, said “it is unacceptable that they refuse to report the biggest trending story in the country for three successive weeks”.
But the Nigerian Television Authority denied that it has not been covering the abduction and the campaigns held to inspire rescue efforts.
Sola Atere, the Director General of NTA, said they have been covering the BringBackOurGirls campaign from the day the BringBackOurGirls protesters marched to the National Assembly.
Mr. Atere described the NTA as a Nigerian project that does not discriminate.
Also, the Director of news for FRCN, Sanni Muhammed, also said it has covered news on the kidnapped girls
“We can give you evidence that we have been doing that all over the country not only in Abuja alone,” he said.