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SERAP opposes broadcast station suspension

SERAP opposes broadcast station suspension
Photo by Fringer Cat- Ask Nigeria

25 broadcast channels, 16 others warned because of alleged violations by NBC.

A lawsuit has been filed against President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) for sanctioning and threatening to withdraw the licences of broadcast stations across the nation and force them to cease operations over their lawful reporting of the 2023 general elections through the NBC Act and broadcasting code. Legal counsel for the agency, Kolawole Oluwadare, Valentina Adegoke and Adelanke Aremo, filed the suit, which affirmed that when it comes to exercising one’s right to free speech and the dissemination of information in a democratic society, the media plays an essential part as a conveyance or tool.

However, It was reported this past week that NBC sanctioned 25 broadcast channels and gave final warnings to 16 others because of alleged violations of the rules of the Nigeria Broadcasting Law during the Presidential and National Assembly polls on February 25, 2023. SERAP believed that NBC’s threats to shut down and censure other broadcast outlets were disproportionate and unnecessary, as they would violate Nigerians’ constitutionally protected freedom of speech, information accessibility, and press freedom.

NBC penalizes stations for covering the 2023 general election.

In the lawsuit filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos with the case number FHC/L/CS/469/2023, they are requesting the court to establish the validity of the broadcasting code that was utilized by NBC to penalize several stations and threatening to close down others which are contradictory and inconsistent with of expression freedom, information dissemination, and media freedom. Mr. Lai Mohammed, who is the Minister of Information and Culture, was also brought into the suit as a defendant.

Furthermore, they are requesting that the court rule that NBC’s sanction be considered an unlawful and unconstitutional act since it infringes the right to free speech. Until the hearing and resolution of the petition on notice filed concurrently in this matter, they ask the court to issue a decree of an interim injunction preventing President Buhari, NBC, and Mr. Mohammed from intimidating and penalizing broadcast stations throughout the nation for actually carrying out their constitutional responsibilities.

Sanction on broadcasting stations is against freedom of expression.

According to SERAP, the Nigerian government is pursuing and penalizing broadcast stations in order to make a victim out of them rather than swiftly trying to investigate accusations made of election-related violence and other infringements of the Electoral Act and also the Nigerian Constitution and laying hold of suspected offenders. In doing so, the government attempts to divert attention away from itself. Those who are tasked with the implementation of NBC legislation and rules do not have unrestricted discretion to limit freedom of speech and press liberty as a result of the authority that they have been granted.

It is contradictory and conflicting with human rights obligations to utilize ambiguous and imprecise words like “unpatriotic individuals” and “subversive, hateful, and inciting utterances, particularly post-election” as reasons to penalize and threaten broadcast outlets. Therefore, they are requesting, among other things, that the court declare that the application of the NBC broadcasting code to penalize some broadcast outlets and threaten to suspend their operation because they broadcasted the general elections constitutes a breach of their rights.

Buhari should order NBC and others to cease their threats.

Lastly, the organization is asking for a court order requiring President Buhari to instruct NBC as well as Mr. Mohammed to cease their threats and sanctions against media houses and to abide by the requirements of Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution and also Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. However, there has yet to be any decision made regarding when the hearing of the suit will take place.


Related Link

SERAP: Website

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Admin
1
2 months ago

SERAP opposes broadcast station suspension25 broadcast channels, 16 others warned because of alleged violations by NBC. – Express your point of view.

Member
8
2 months ago

It’s imperative that broadcast stations abide by the NBC laws. However, they should not be sanctioned unjustly for simply dissemination information and being honest about the process.

Member
9
2 months ago

In a democratic society, individuals have the right to free speech, and the transmission of ideas, and the administration ought to be conscious of this fact when it comes to protecting that freedom.

Member
8
2 months ago

I concur with the assertion that the sanction imposed by NBC should be regarded as illegal and unconstitutional behaviour since it violates the individual’s right to freedom of expression.

Member
9
2 months ago

I am pleased that the government of Nigeria is actively seeking and prosecuting broadcast stations because I believe that this would discourage other stations from taking part in this conduct.

Member
9
2 months ago

Individuals who are responsible for carrying out NBC regulations and laws do not have unchecked discretion to suppress dissent and journalism.

Member
8
2 months ago

The broadcasting station should not not be sanction anyhow at anybody’s will since there is a code of conduct guiding them.

Member
9
2 months ago

The government has violated it’s own created rights and rules. Their intentions to divert attention from the on going issue and turn the case around in it favor. It’s a pity, it is very possible they(gov’t win), that’s the level of how corrupted the country has become.

Member
9
2 months ago

The broadcast stations were obviously denied caused election should be observed public. This should be happening.

Member
8
2 months ago

Well it is the duty of broadcast companies to cover what’s happening in the country especially during a national event like election but they should also know how to operate under the law governing them.

Member
8
2 months ago

Broadcasting station should keep in line with the rule been lay down not doing something out of the rules is not they will be sanction and government should sanction those who are violate only

Member
9
2 months ago

The broadcast station have right and freedom to broadcast what is going on in the country what is happening in the country so people will be able to know

Member
8
2 months ago

While there were a freedom movement f speech there is an also a limit to what one can say in a country like Nigeria. There is a lot begins this.

Member
9
2 months ago

It seems that this Buhari led administration just want to enslave us. How can we be in a democratic regime and not have freedom of speech. It is an absolute absurdity. SERAP has done the right by opposing broadcast station suspension.

Member
9
2 months ago

This administration is becoming militarized rule than democratized rule. On what ground should the Presidency and NBC suspensed a station? Certainly not when the right important is being broadcast. Please, Mr President revert your suspension of Stations. They should be given the right of freedom of speech.

Member
10
2 months ago

NBC has become tools in the hand of federal government to perpetrate their evil act so that they can shot the media up from saying the truth and condeming all bad atrocities committed during and after the election.

Member
10
2 months ago

25 broadcast channels, 16 others warned because of alleged violations by NBC. Why now, why this time of election or did the election go well. National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) are doing their work well this period. There no democracy in Nigeria. If government is breaking the law. What do you expect for others

Member
8
2 months ago

I agree that the NBC censure should be viewed as unlawful and unconstitutional conduct because it infringes the person’s right to freedom of expression.

Abusi
Member
9
2 months ago

I condemn the broadcast commission suspending stations. So far they have not broken any rules of engaging the people, then they should be allowed to do their job.

Member
8
2 months ago

To prevent the media from speaking the truth and condemning the bad atrocities performed during and after the election, the federal government has enlisted the help of NBC as a tool to perpetrate their evil conduct.

Member
9
2 months ago

Radio and TV stations must adhere to the regulations set down for them, and those that break them must face consequences from the government.