The Lagos Judicial Panel Of Inquiry Probing Decades Of Police Brutality, Has Barred Journalists From Using Their Smartphones During Plenary-
A Move Viewed As An Attempt To Censor Press Coverage Of Proceedings.
“Please switch off your phone,” a notice on the walls of the venue of the sitting read tersely on Tuesday, December 1, 2020.
The new rules, which includes a directive that says no one should move a muscle during proceedings, led to a shouting match between journalists covering the inquiry and panelists, amid threats of a boycott of the panel.
Videos from the panel have enjoyed plenty of clicks on social media platforms and in investigative reports of international media organisations like CNN.
Plenty deductions have also been extracted from the military’s presentations at the panel.
All of that will now be things of the past.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Doris Okuwobi (retd.), cited security as reason for the new rules and restrictions, but the journalists and observers were not convinced.
The journalists view the new rules as fresh attempts at censorship by a government that has frowned at media reports of the shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate on October 20, 2020.
The presidency directed state governors to set up panels of inquiry in their domains in the wake of the #EndSARS protests that engulfed Nigeria in the early days of October.