The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Buhari and the Federal Government over its threat to shut down broadcast stations over their coverage of elections.
Last week, the FG through the National Broadcasting Commission said it will shut down broadcast stations found guilty of using their platforms to ‘undermine the peaceful coexistence of Nigeria.’
Following a meeting between NBC’s Director-General, Balarabe Ilelah and broadcast stations on the coverage of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, the Commission said it would not hesitate to revoke the license of broadcasters threatening the peace of the country.
The NBC warned media organisations that further breaches of the Broadcasting Code would not be tolerated.
In a statement on Sunday, March 12, SERAP urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “instruct Mr Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to urgently withdraw the ‘last warning’ and threat to revoke the licenses of broadcast stations and shut them down over their coverage of elections and post-election matters.”
“The ‘last warning’ and threat by the NBC if not immediately withdrawn would limit freedom of expression and the ability of broadcast stations to cover important issues around the 2023 general elections,” SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare said.
“Political expression is a fundamental right. The threat by the NBC creates a significant risk that legitimate expression may be prohibited.
“Such unlawful prohibition may prevent transparency and dissemination of information on legitimate issues of public interest around the 2023 general elections.”
“We would be grateful if the requested action is taken within 48 hours of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”