In an exclusive interview with the Global Times yesterday, the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Kanu noted that the security of the state was far more important than freedom of the press.
According to the Chief Government Spokesman, governments are elected to protect life and property. “As a government”, he said, “We cannot allow the security of the state to be compromised in the name of press freedom”. Minister Kanu reiterated that the decision to suspend the popular “Monologue” radio program on Citizen FM was done in the interest of national security.
Asked why he did not allow the IMC (Independent Media Commission) to handle the matter, Minister Kanu said the commission did not treat his complaint against the journalist “very seriously”. He said the decision by Cabinet, to suspend the Monologue program, was done in good faith. “As a government, we take the security of the state very seriously… Dr. David Tam-Bayoh threatened the security of the state, by the inciteful comments he made against the Minister of Defence… He was calling on the Army to take immediate action, because, two of their colleagues had died in a road accident… He blamed the Minister and by extension the government for the accident… Why did he not wait for the Police to investigate the cause of the accident”, Minister Kanu said. He assured media practitioners that once they practice their trade with responsibility, they have nothing to fear.
Dr. David Tam-Baryoh has described the decision by Cabinet to suspend his popular radio program as illegal. He said it was unfair for Cabinet to usurp the statutory responsibility of the IMC (Independent Media Commission).
The IMC has, meanwhile, distanced itself from the decision taken by Cabinet to suspend the Monologue program for sixty days.