The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has taken the Federal Government and some state governments to the ECOWAS Court of Justice over alleged attacks on journalists and bloggers.
Naija News understands that SERAP, in a suit by its solicitor, Femi Falana, alleged that the Federal Government and several state governments and their agents had trampled on the rights to freedom of expression and information of bloggers, journalists, activists, and social media users through the repressive use and implementation of “the vaguely worded provisions of the Cybercrime Act.”
The suit read in part: “The idea of a democracy is that the people are encouraged to express their criticisms, even their wrong-headed criticisms, of elected government officials, in the expectation that this process will improve the process of government. In circumstances of public debate concerning public figures in the political domain and public institutions, the value placed by legal principles and jurisprudence upon uninhibited expression is particularly high.”
“Sanctions for defamation should not be so large as to exert a chilling effect on freedom of opinion, expression and media freedom; penal sanctions, in particular imprisonment, should never be applied. This implies a free press and other media able to comment on public issues without censorship or restraint and to inform public opinion. The public also has a corresponding right to receive output.”
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