SERAP urges Buhari to withdraw sanction threat against media outfits
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently direct Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to withdraw the threat to sanction the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust over their reported documentaries on terrorism in Nigeria.
The minister had, last Thursday, stated that the Federal Government would sanction the organisations for promoting insurgency via their media platforms.
In a letter dated July 30, 2022 and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP restated that the media has the duty to disseminate information of public importance.
If carried out, the threat to sanction BBC and Daily Trust would inhibit the media from reporting issues of public interest, the organisation reiterated.
According to the body, media houses and journalists ought to be given the room to determine how best to present information of public interest, especially information about the growing violence and killings across the country.
The organisation said: “Rather than punishing the media for promoting access to diverse opinions and information on issues of public importance, your government should focus on delivering your promises to ensure the security of Nigerians.
“Carrying out the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would lessen the flow of diverse viewpoints and information to the public.”
The letter reads in part: “A free, uncensored and unhindered press or other media is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression and the enjoyment of other rights. It constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society.
“Sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust would be entirely inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s obligations under Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”