The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately reverse the arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal decision to suspend Channels Television, and a fine of N5 million on the station purportedly for breaching the broadcast code.
SERAP in statement by Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said it will take legal action if the decision is not reversed within 48 hours.
HOMELANDNEWS reports that the Acting Director General of the Commission, NBC, Professor Armstrong Idachaba in a letter to the Managing Director of Channels Television referred to Channels 7pm live broadcast programme of Sunday, 25th April, 2021, in which it accused the TV station of interviewing a leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) allegedly without “caution or reprimand.”
NBC held that the station also allowed the guest to make derogatory, false and misleading statements about the Nigerian army, despite being proscribed by a court of law.
According to SERAP, the suspension of Channels Television is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, and without any legal basis whatsoever. The government and NBC should immediately lift the suspension and reverse the fine.
“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 freely and to cover diverse views are crucial to the exercise of many other rights and freedoms.
“The government of President Buhari has a responsibility to protect Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”