Ogun govt denies shutting state-owned media against opposition
Ogun State Government has denied muzzling other political parties and candidates from using Ogun State Television (OGTV) for political campaigns.
Concerned Indigenes of Ogun State had accused the state government of unilateral use of the medium and shutting out of opposition.
According to the leader of the group, Femi Oniyide, said the development violates the tenets and spirit of credible election, which starts with the constitutional right of freedom of speech, which the Electoral Act and the Nigerian Broadcasting Code seem to protect.
But Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Kunle Somorin, in a statement, yesterday, argued that the opposition parties never approached the television station for such request, emphasising that there was no censorship as being speculated by the group.
He said: “That is not true. Did they approach OGTV for coverage? I am not aware of such censorship. It is the same way smaller parties accused bigger parties at the national level.”
The group emphasised that the Broadcasting Code and Electoral Act did not give a governor the exclusive right to take control of the airwaves to the detriment of opposition political parties in their campaign to the electorate.
It noted that the action of the television station violated Sections 7. 6, 3 (a, d, e, f, g and h) of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, sixth edition of 2016, stressing that for the avoidance of doubt,
Section 95(2) of the Electoral Act stated that the state apparatus, including the media, should not be applied to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate at any election.
“This subsection of the Electoral Act is in tandem with Section 7.6.3(h) of the broadcasting code. Also, Section 95(3) of the Electoral Act is in tandem with Section 7.6.3(e) of the broadcasting code, which also states that media time shall be allocated equally among the political parties and candidates at similar hours of the day,” it stated.
The group gave the television station seven days to address the points raised, or the management would be dragged to higher authorities to evoke the penalties in the Electoral Act and broadcasting code.
“We observed that what we see daily on various broadcast stations of Ogun, especially OGTV, are mainly the campaign jingles, adverts and discussion on the candidacy of the sitting governor, Dapo Abiodun, for second term and other candidates contesting on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC),” Oniyide stated.