SERAP Writes President Buhari to Withdraw Amended Broadcasting Code

SERAP Writes President Buhari to Withdraw Amended Broadcasting Code

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has requested President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the controversial amended broadcasting code and nullify the five million Naira imposed on a Lagos-based radio station, Nigeria Info FM. SERAP is a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization devoted to promoting transparency, accountability and respect for socio-economic rights in Nigeria.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has requested President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the controversial amended broadcasting code and nullify the five million Naira imposed on a Lagos-based radio station, Nigeria Info FM.

SERAP is a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization devoted to promoting transparency, accountability and respect for socio-economic rights in Nigeria.

This adds to a legion of other civil society groups and human rights activists and legal luminaries who had made similar calls in the past few days when the code was operationalized. They include the International Press Centre (IPC), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), and Mr. Femi Falana SAN. Also, the Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has described the new code as illegal because it was unilaterally sanctioned for use by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

SERAP in its letter requests the President to use his leadership position to urgently instruct Mr Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to withdraw apparently illegal Broadcasting Code, and Memo threatening to sanction and punish journalists and broadcasters if they fail to stop “denigrating, disrespecting, insulting and abusing president, governors, lawmakers, and other elders and leaders in authority.

SERAP also urges the President to instruct Mr Mohammed and the NBC to immediately rescind the fine of N5m imposed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM radio station, following reported comments by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Malafia, during an interview with the radio station.

The organization noted that its requests are consistent with the Nigerian constitution as amended and in tandem with international laws and conventions.

The letter reads:

15 August, 2020

His Excellency
Muhammadu Buhari GCFR
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
Aso Rock Presidential Villa
Abuja
C/O
Professor Ibrahim Gambari
Chief of Staff to the President
Aso Rock Presidential Villa
Abuja
Your Excellency,
Re: Request to instruct Mr Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to withdraw apparently illegal Broadcasting Code, and Memo to journalists and broadcasters prohibiting them from denigrating, disrespecting, insulting and abusing president, governors, lawmakers, and other elders and leaders in authority.”

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is writing to request you to use your leadership position to urgently instruct Mr Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to withdraw apparently illegal Broadcasting Code, and Memo threatening to sanction and punish journalists and broadcasters if they fail to stop “denigrating, disrespecting, insulting and abusing president, governors, lawmakers, and other elders and leaders in authority.”

SERAP also urges you to instruct Mr Mohammed and the NBC to immediately rescind the fine of N5m imposed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM radio station, following reported comments by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Malafia, during an interview with the radio station.
Our requests are entirely consistent and compatible with the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended), and the country’s international legal obligations, including under the UN Convention against Corruption, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which the country is a state party.

SERAP is a non-profit, nonpartisan, legal and advocacy organization devoted to promoting transparency, accountability and respect for socio-economic rights in Nigeria. SERAP received the Wole Soyinka Anti-Corruption Defender Award in 2014, and was nominated for the UN Civil Society Award and Ford Foundation’s Jubilee Transparency Award. SERAP serves as one of two Sub-Saharan African civil society representatives on the governing Committee of the UNCAC Coalition, a global anti-corruption network of over 380 civil society organizations (CSOs) in over 100 countries.

According to our information, the NBC on Thursday 13 August, 2020 reportedly sent a ‘memo’ to journalists and broadcasters threatening to “sanction and punish them if they violate a culture stopping them from denigrating, disrespecting, insulting, and abusing president, governors, lawmakers, and other elders and leaders in authority.”

In the memo reportedly signed by Mr Chibuike Ogwumike, Zonal Director of the NBC Lagos office, the NBC cited the provisions of the Broadcasting Code: Section 3.1, Professional Rules: 3.1.1, and Broadcasting Code: 3.1.19 to justify the existence of such culture to respect public officials and other elders and leaders in authority in the country.

Ayo Aluko-Olokun
ADMINISTRATOR
PROFILE

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