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SERAP Asks Buhari To Order NBC To Revoke Its Threat To Media Houses

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A call has gone out to President Muhammadu Buhari to ask the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to withdraw its threat to revoke the licenses of broadcast stations over coverage of Nigeria elections.

Naija News reports that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) who made the call, said the latest threat to the broadcasting station from NBC might limit the coverage of the election by broadcast media platforms.

The group, therefore, called on the president to order the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, and the NBC to revoke the order.

Recall that NBC had last week issued a caution to broadcasting stations to desist from covering “hateful, inciting, and negative conversations, particularly in the post-2023 Presidential Election.”

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NBC warned that media stations would risk shutting down “if they continue to allow unpatriotic individuals on their platforms to make utterances that are subversive.”

SERAP however in its reaction said the “last warning” if not immediately withdrawn, would limit freedom of expression and the ability of broadcast stations to cover important issues around the 2023 general elections.”

The deputy director of the group, Kolawole Oluwadare in a letter dated 11 March explained that NBC’s directive to broadcasting stations carrying out their “watchdog role” is incompatible with Nigeria’s constitutional and international human rights obligations.

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Oluwadare, who demanded that the order be withdrawn in the next 48 hours of the receipt and/or publication of the letter questioned how media platforms can provide a critical assessment of the electoral process if they fear being sanctioned.

The group threatened to take legal action to compel President Buhari to comply with its request if he fails to align with the public interest.

SERAP added that “Your government has a legal responsibility to ensure an environment in which a diverse range of political opinions and ideas around the general elections can be freely and openly expressed and debated.”

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