Presidency urges due process in press council amendment bill
• Daar Communications alleges intimidation, witch-hunt by NBC
The Presidency yesterday urged groups and individuals who have reservations for the proposed Press Council Amendment Bill to follow due process rather than criticise government through the media.
Speaking to State House correspondents on the controversy surrounding the proposed amendment of the law sponsored as a private member’s bill, presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, pointed out that the attacks against government on the legislation were misdirected, since it has nothing at all to do with it.
“This is a privately-sponsored bill. President Muhammadu Buhari is not involved,” he said, adding that people should follow due process when they oppose a bill being considered by the Legislature and encouraged anyone against the proposed bill to do so.
“President Buhari should not be blamed for the action of the lawmakers who we voted to represent us at the National Assembly. “At the same time, the Presidency would like to assure everyone that, however the process ends, President Buhari will not compromise his democratic credentials by signing any bill that violates the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Shehu said.
Meanwhile, the management of Daar Communications has alleged that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) was threatening to shut down its stations for its failure to promote and project government programmes.
Besides faulting the commission’s claim that it exceeded the transmitting band of 100.5MHz allotted to it, the media organisation said NBC has unleashed a fresh onslaught against it just like it did to them in 2016.
Its Group Managing Director, Tony Akiotu, who briefed journalists in Abuja, said the broadcast regulatory body had invited its management several times to either sack some presenters or tone down the vibrancy of its programmes. He alleged that the media organisation was intimidated, adding that every attempt was made to muzzle and stifle their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.
The NBC had accused Daar Communications of exceeding the allowed band occupancy limit from 100.3MHz to 100.6MHz, while also condemning the media house for “persistent and flagrant infringement on provisions of its code in your political platform programme.” The commission however fined Daar Communications N500,000 and N1,000,000 for the offences, which it paid.
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