Nigerians on social media, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, and the Peoples Democratic Party have condemned the National Broadcasting Commission for sanctioning Channels Television by ordering an immediate stoppage of one of its programmes, ‘Politics Today’.
The Acting Director-General of the Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, had in a letter accused the TV station of interviewing a leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra allegedly without “caution or reprimand.”
On its part, SERAP asked the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and NBC to immediately reverse the arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal decision to sanction the television station.
SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said, “The suspension is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, and without any legal basis whatsoever. This action by the government and NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices. The government and NBC lift the suspension and uphold the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom.
“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. The Federal Government and NBC should stop targeting and intimidating independent media and voices.
caution the NBC to stop intimidating and harassing independent media houses and to respect the Nigerian Constitution, and the country’s international human rights obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party described the reported suspension of the programme over alleged violation of broadcasting code as draconian.
The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said, “Without prejudice to the issues raised against Channels Television, the reported hasty clampdown, without the benefit of caution, is suggestive of intolerance and high-handedness by the regulatory body.
“Our party is worried that such disposition could be counter-productive and heighten the already tensed situation in our nation at this critical time.
“The PDP, therefore, urges the NBC to review the punitive measure on the media house as well as scale-up a system-friendly measure that will ensure best practices in information dissemination in our country.”