Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) have filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari over a N5 million fine imposed on Channels Television due to a recent interview with the Labour Party vice-presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Other defendants in the suit are National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohamed.
Naija News recalls that NBC fined Channels Television N5million over an interview with Datti Baba-Ahmed for violating the NBC code
However, in the suit filed last week at Federal High Court, Lagos, the plaintiffs urged the court to determine if “the NBC code used to impose a fine of N5m on Channels TV and the threat of ‘higher sanctions’ is not in inconsistent and incompatible with access to information and media freedom.”
The suit filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Andrew Nwankwo, and Ms Blessing Ogwuche, said “The grounds for imposing a fine of N5m on Channels TV failed to meet the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.
“Broadcasting is a means of exercising freedom of expression. Any restrictions on freedom of expression must meet the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.”
The plaintiffs also asked the court for “a declaration that the NBC code used by the NBC to impose a fine of N5m on Channels TV and the threat of ‘higher sanctions’ is arbitrary, unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates the rights to a fair hearing, freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.