IPOB: SERAP threatens Nigeria govt over Channel TV suspension
A threat to take legal action against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has been issued by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) if they fail to immediately reverse the suspension of Channels Television within 48hours.
Recall that the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC on Monday fined Channels TV N5 million for allowing a leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB to make secessionist and inciting declarations on air without caution.
SERAP in a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, gave the ultimatum while describing the suspension of the TV station as unconstitutional and illegal.
The group urged Buhari to stop intimidating the media in Nigeria and respect the constitution.
Part of the statement read: “President Muhammadu Buhari should caution the NBC to stop intimidating and harassing independent media houses and to respect the Nigerian Constitution, and the international human rights obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
“The government and NBC should immediately lift the suspension and reverse the fine. We will pursue appropriate legal action if the arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal suspension and fine are not reversed within 48 hours.
“This action by the government and NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities push to silence independent media and voices.
SERAP described the development as a new law in Nigeria’s protection of freedom of expression, and the ability of independent media to function perfectly.
“Media freedom and media plurality are a central part of the effective exercise of freedom of expression and access to information.
“The ability to practice journalism free from undue interference, to cover diverse views are crucial to the exercise of many other rights and freedoms.”
“The media has a vital role to play as ‘public watchdog’ in imparting information of serious public concern and should not be inhibited or intimidated from playing that role.”
SERAP went ahead to warn the government and NBC to stop targeting and intimidating independent media houses but protect the right to freedom of speech.
“Article 20 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has ratified requires states to prohibit only advocacy that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. Restrictions must be clearly defined, specific, necessary, and proportionate to the threat to interest protected,” the statement added.
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