Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has warned the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC ) against obstructing citizen’s freedom of expression.
HURIWA warned the Commission to stop taking laws into its hands but go to court if it feels strongly that any broadcasting station breached any extant law, adding that tt(NBC) cannot be the judge, the prosecutor in its own case.
The Rights group said the courts of law as recognised in sections of the constitution is the only body that can determine the wrongness or rightness of any action by any person or authority and not an agency of the executive arm of government.
HURIWA said this against the backdrop of the reported warning letter sent to Channels Television by NBC for interviewing the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and erstwhile Naval intelligence Chief Commodore Olakunle Olawunmi.
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The rights group warned the NBC to avoid taking laws into its hand by constituting a cog in the wheel of the progressive enjoyment of rights to media freedoms.
HURIWA’s position was carried in a statement signed by its National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss. Zainab Yusuf.
The rights group said the NBC does not have overriding supremacy over the clear provisions of the Nigerian Constitution enshrined in chapter four and in many international legal instruments which speak to the issue of democratic freedoms.
HURIWA stated that the agency of the federal government such as the broadcasting commission set up by an inferior legal statute can not and must never be allowed to destroy the different ramifications of fundamental freedoms that citizens are entitled to.
HURIWA said that the Constitutional democracy will collapse the moment the NBC is allowed to dictate to broadcasting stations who to interview and who to invite for a programme.
Recall that the NBC had on Thursday queried Channels Television for granting an interview to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
NBC said the move followed “inciting, divisive and unfair comments” made by the governor during a programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Tuesday.
HURIWA cited sections 22 and 39 of the constitution as those finest provisions that empower the media to act as the social vanguard of Nigeria.
Besides, section (1) of the constitution states thus: ‘”(1) This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’” The group said.