Channels TV, others: SERAP sues FG, wants NBC broadcasting code quashed

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, and 24 concerned Nigerians have sued the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja over “arbitrary” use of the NBC Act and broadcasting code.

In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/19/21 and filed last week by SERAP Depuy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, contended that the code was enacted to target, harass, sanction, and fine independent television and radio stations in Nigeria, and to restrict Nigerians’ freedom of expression and access to information.”

Therefore, “SERAP is asking the ECOWAS Court to declare illegal and contrary to Nigeria’s international human rights obligations the provisions of the NBC Act and broadcasting code frequently apply by the Federal Government and NBC to target, harass, intimidate, and impose sanctions on independent television and radio stations in the country.”

The suit came in the wake of the “‘bridge [breach] letter’ by the NBC asking Channels TV to explain why it interviewed the spokesman of a proscribed organisation; the ban on Jay FM 101.9 Jos for playing songs such as Falz’s ‘This is Nigeria’, Wande Coal’s ‘Iskaba’ and Olamide’s ‘See Mary, See Jesus’; and the N9m fines imposed on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests,” Oluwadare stated.