Security, role of the media in Nigerian democracy | The Guardian Nigeria News
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends” -Dr. Martin Luther King
The democratic structure of the Nigerian state has benefited from the massive contributions of the Nigerian media for its survival and development. The Nigerian media rank high on the stakeholder pedestal of the Nigerian project, indeed, a lot of positives could rightly be credited to the Nigerian media in terms of the sustainability of this nation. I consider the subject under reference highly imperative given the multifaceted challenges that currently beset this nation; it is my humble opinion that many beneficial nation-building ideas can be intersected through the instrument of this meeting today.
My approach here today to the topic is to conceptually clarify key terms and freely expose the role of the media in our current democratic system by assessing the delicate balance between national security and press freedom. As I close this introductory session, let me stress that Nigeria is in dire straits and that only dialogue, constructive engagement, and the amplification of our common humanity can reverse the grim extinction that hangs over us all in face.
Like most other concepts, security does not admit of a simple or comprehensive definition, it is a robust concept with a constraint without borders. However, in layman’s terms, security is the absence of the potentialities and existences of evil, of injury at the behest of hostile forces. It is protection against violence, coercion and fear.
Historically, there has been an evolution of the concept of security since the end of the Cold War, which consisted mainly of proxy wars waged by allies of the United States on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other. . Thus, security as a term of interest when referenced in this historical context would mean the increase or decrease in the level of hostilities between nations after WWII. The field of security therefore covers contexts such as global security, human security, border security, cybersecurity, environmental security, economic security, business security, food security, internal security, security. national, among others.
By contemplating this conference, it is opportune, in my opinion, to highlight the definitional framework of security using these three sub-contexts, namely: human security, internal security and national security. Human security simply means the protection of fundamental freedoms, that is, freedoms which are the very essence of life. Human security encompasses three freedoms: to be free from fear, free from want and free from indignity. It suggests a situation where an individual can aspire to the desired level of happiness and peace in society. Human security is characterized by the absence of both violent and non-violent threats to the rights of individuals, their security and their lives.
This again emphasizes the universal principle of self-preservation above other security concepts such as national security, global security, food security, among others. However, it is respectfully submitted that there is an interaction between these concepts and the concept of human security. It is almost implausible that each of these security sub-concepts can be isolated.
Homeland security, on the other hand, is largely concerned with keeping the peace within the confines of a sovereign state by ensuring that there is citizen observation, compliance and adherence to the laws of the land. . Internal security ensures that internal attacks and threats within a nation’s borders are repelled or confronted with monopolized state violence. Responsibility for internal security falls primarily within the constitutional mandate of the police. Other paramilitary agencies also share this responsibility and they are all guided by the laws that establish them.
National security, as the name suggests, is concerned with the security of the nation as a legal person. It encompasses everything, but the main objective is the defense of the corporate existence of a country. In this perspective, the armed forces are empowered by the Constitution to defend the territorial integrity of the nation. They assume the important duty of defending the nation against external aggressors and, in some cases, internal aggressors. National security could also extend to the defense of a nation’s economy from saboteurs and traitors.
To be sure, the basis of national security is the maintenance of the political structure of a nation-state that carries with it a label of non-negotiation. To go further in the chapter, the term media has received several definitions, however simple the term connotes any communication channel. This can include anything from printed paper to digital data. It refers to television, radio, newspapers, the Internet and other forms of communication. I dare say that any other definition is an extension of the previous ones.
The role of the media in Nigerian democracy
Democracy has been commonly defined as government of the people by the people and for the people. This invariably means that democracy is about popular choices; the general expression of the will of the majority, while ensuring that the minority is not prevented from expressing itself. It is the system of government that opens the electorate to a perspective of choice and how those choices should be made without fear or coercion.
Indeed, democracy is a big deal because it practically puts the socio-economic fortune of the people in the hands of a few decision-makers. More often than not, efforts are dissipated by referring to the executive, the legislature and the judiciary as the three arms of government in a democracy because they are explicitly named as beneficiaries of the power-sharing structure as contained. in the constitution of any democratic state, however, the media is the pillar that sustains that structure. This is what informs the media crowning as the kingdom’s fourth estate. The existence of the media is linked to the sovereignty of the people from which the government derives its constitutional powers in exchange for the fundamental freedom of expression of the people.
To be continued tomorrow.
Ajulo, FCIArb. The UK, Managing Partner of Castle of Law and Executive Director of the Egalitarian Mission for Africa presented the document during Chapel’s Week at NUJ NTA Headquarters in Abuja.