DAAR Communications, the operators of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power, says it would have challenged the National Broadcasting Commission’s notice to broadcasters to stop using Twitter, were it not for the ongoing industrial action of courts.
In a statement on Sunday, NBC had directed all radio and television stations to “de-install Twitter handles and desist from using twitter as a source (UGC) of information gathering for news and programmes presentation especially phone-in”.
But DAAR contended on Monday that against Section 2(1)r which entrusts the Commission with the responsibility to ensure strict adherence to national laws, rules and regulations, the Government’s directive to ban Twitter is not a law of the Federal Republic.
“Ordinarily we would expect the honorable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to advise the government on the legal and constitutional framework within which legal authority and credence can be given to the Federal Government’s announcement,” read a memo signed by the management of Daar Communications.
“Ordinarily we would have challenged the NBC and Federal government in court on their authority to arbitrarily infringe on sections 39(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guaranteeing freedom of expression as a fundamental right of Nigerian citizens and section 22 of the same constitution guaranteeing press freedom.
“Ordinarily we would challenge the National Broadcasting Commission to quote the relevant sections of the constitution, the NBC Act or the jurisprudence of our laws from which they derive their authority to direct broadcasters on where to source newsworthy information and interfering in our editorial decisions by prohibiting us from sourcing information, citizen opinions and expressions from the Twitter platform.”
However, it noted that since “the courts are presently on strike and in the absence of judicial interpretation on the legality of this directive”, it had no choice “but to comply with this directive of the NBC”.
“We therefore regret to inform our teeming viewers and audience that in compliance with the directive by the NBC following the Federal Government’s suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria, we are henceforth and with immediate effect suspending the use of Twitter to disseminate information and to gather newsworthy information and opinions from the platform,” read the memo.
“We will seek to challenge this directive in court as soon as the courts resume and will be guided by judicial interpretation of this directive going forward in the interim, follow us and continue the conversation on @AITonline on Facebook and +2348029476575 on WhatsApp.”
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