Newspaper Vendors Protest Alleged Ban

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CEM REPORT, MEDIA | Newspaper vendors in Anambra State are protesting the alleged of displaying paper in public places.

The vendors said the ban was an infringement on citizens’ rights to freedom of the press.

According to reports by Daily Trust, government agents have been sending vendors off newsstands, urging them to relocate to shops or offices to sell their papers.

A female vendor at Aroma, who pleaded anonymity, said some government agents came to her newsstand and warned her to stop selling newspapers there from next week.

She added that when she asked them the reason for the quit notice, they told her it was a directive from the governor.

She also said vendors in the state plan to visit the commission of information to get the issue resolved.

“Even in London and America, vendors still sell newspapers on the newsstands, despite their development. Why is Soludo telling us to rent offices where we will be selling newspapers? Where is the money to do that at a time like this? We have planned to visit the Commissioner for Information to complain; if nothing positive comes out from our meeting with the Commissioner, we shall go to the State House of Assembly and call for his (Soludo) impeachment.”

A lecturer at the department of Mass communication, UNIZIK, described the alleged ban as executive rascality.

“The mass media is central to the development of any democratic society. This has been generally acknowledged in developed societies to the extent that the media has often been described as the Fourth Estate of the Realm.”

“Nigeria, like other democracies, recognizes the role of the mass media and has gone to the extent of giving constitutional backing to it. The 1999 Constitution did not only guarantee every Nigerian freedom of expression and to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas, and opinions, but also gave obligations to the media to monitor governance and hold the government accountable to the people.

“Section 39 of the Constitution states that ‘Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.

“Section 22 of the Constitution states that the press, radio, television and other agencies of mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.

“So, it’s only a government that has something to fear or hide that would want to restrict vendors from circulating newspapers and other periodicals.”

When contacted, the Press secretary to the governor, Christian Aburime, said he was not aware that the governor asked the vendor to vacate the streets.

He asked the vendors to find out those who asked them to relocate to shops or offices for their businesses.

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