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SERAP Takes Nigerian Government Before ECOWAS Court Over ‘Harassment’ Of Broadcasters

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Socio-Financial Rights and Accountability Venture and 24 involved Nigerians have sued the Nigerian authorities and the Nationwide Broadcasting Fee (NBC) on the ECOWAS Group Court docket of Justice in Abuja over the NBC Broadcasting Code. 

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In response to a press release issued by the physique on Sunday, the go well with is over “the arbitrary use of the NBC Act and broadcasting code to focus on, harass, sanction, and high quality unbiased tv and radio stations in Nigeria, and to limit Nigerians’ freedom of expression and entry to info.”



SERAP is asking the ECOWAS Court docket to declare “unlawful and opposite to Nigeria’s worldwide human rights obligations the provisions of the NBC Act and broadcasting code ceaselessly apply by the Federal Authorities and NBC to focus on, harass, intimidate, and impose sanctions on unbiased tv and radio stations within the nation.”

The go well with is coming within the wake of the “‘bridge [breach] letter’ by the NBC asking Channels TV to elucidate why it interviewed the spokesman of a proscribed organisation; the ban on Jay FM 101.9 Jos for enjoying songs corresponding to Falz’s ‘That is Nigeria’, Wande Coal’s ‘Iskaba’ and Olamide’s ‘See Mary, See Jesus’; and the N9m fines imposed on Channels TV, AIT and Come up TV [N3m each] over their protection of the #EndSARS protests.”

Within the go well with quantity ECW/CCJ/APP/19/21 and filed final week, the Plaintiffs are arguing that “The rights to freedom of expression, entry to info and media freedom enable Nigerians to hunt and attain fact, which is an inherently good exercise. These rights additionally enable Nigerians to take part in consultant governance, social and political decision-making, which the Federal Authorities and NBC are obligated to foster and encourage.”

In response to the Plaintiffs: “Makes an attempt to justify restrictions on these basic rights and freedom on the overly obscure grounds of incitement, morality and subversion of the constituted authority contradict the rules of the universality of human rights. Freedom of Expression is a basic human proper and can’t be denied with out lawful justification.”

The Plaintiffs are additionally arguing that “the appliance of the Nigerian Broadcasting Act 1992 and broadcasting code to sanction unbiased tv and radio stations is bigoted, and has created an surroundings during which unbiased media homes are censored, or resort to self-censorship.”

The Plaintiffs state that “regardless of the Freedom of Info Act in Nigeria which ensures the best to entry public data, the Federal Authorities and its brokers and several other states of Nigeria have routinely refused to launch info sought.”

The Plaintiffs are additionally arguing that “Loads of Nigerians at residence and overseas depend on unbiased tv and radio stations together with on-line on their protection of topical problems with public curiosity to entry neutral, goal and important details about concepts and views on how the Federal Authorities and its brokers are performing their constitutional and worldwide human rights obligations.”

The go well with filed on behalf of the Plaintiffs by their legal professionals Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi learn partly: “The low degree of political tolerance for views perceived to be essential of presidency or offensive signifies that the press continues to be topic of scare ways, harassment and intimidation.”

“Censorship restricts the circulate of knowledge from the Federal Authorities and its brokers about problems with public curiosity, stopping individuals from accessing essential info, expressing themselves, and denying them alternatives to claim different basic human rights.”

“It additionally violates the rights of individuals to brazenly focus on points referring to transparency and accountability in authorities, and prevents them from accessing the data on a variety of associated considerations.”

“The Federal Authorities and NBC must be stopped from utilizing the broadcasting code or some other rules and/or legislation to erode the sacred rights to freedom of expression, info and media freedom, which is the bedrock of the rule of legislation and sustainable democracy.”

“The Federal Authorities and NBC have routinely breached the elemental rules of media freedom and media plurality, that are a central a part of the efficient train of freedom of expression and entry to info, and thereby undermined the flexibility of Nigeria’s unbiased media homes to perform successfully.”

“The persistent use of the NBC Act and broadcasting code by the Federal Authorities and the NBC is a blatant violation of the rights to freedom of expression, entry to info and media freedom, in addition to prohibition towards self-censorship.”

“The rights to freedom of expression, entry to info and media freedom promote variety in types of particular person self-fulfilment and human flourishing, which the Federal Authorities and its brokers should domesticate to attain a tolerant and welcoming surroundings for the sake of fine governance, the rule of legislation and respect for human rights.”

“The Federal Authorities and NBC have violated the best of Nigerians to goal and neutral information protection and reportage, as they proceed to impermissibly limit people’ rights to freedom of expression, entry to info, and press freedom in Nigeria.”

“The Federal Authorities and NBC have significantly undermined the flexibility of unbiased media homes to practise journalism free from undue interference, to cowl various views which can be essential to the train of many different rights and freedoms.”

The Plaintiffs are due to this fact asking the ECOWAS Court docket of Justice for the next reliefs:

“A declaration that the appliance of the provisions of the Nationwide Broadcasting Fee Act 1992 and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code by the Defendant and its agent to impose sanctions and penalties on unbiased tv and radio stations is inconsistent and incompatible with the best to freedom of expression, entry to info, and media freedom assured underneath Article 9 of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“An order setting apart the sum of 5 Million Naira or some other type of penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the Defendant and its agent on Channels TV and/or on any such different tv and radio stations.

“An order directing the Defendant and its brokers to instantly repeal and/or amend the Nationwide Broadcasting Fee Act and the Nigerian Broadcasting Code and produce them into conformity with Nigeria’s worldwide human rights obligations.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant and its brokers from unlawfully imposing sanctions fines or doing something in any respect to harass Channels TV and some other tv and radio stations in violation of the African Constitution on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Worldwide Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

such additional order or orders the Honorable Court docket might deem match to make within the circumstances of this go well with. No date has been mounted for the listening to of the go well with.”

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