Reacting to the directive by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to broadcast organisations to de-activate their Twitter handle, DAAR Communications Plc, owners and operators of Africa Independent Television, Raypower FM and Faaji FM, said it would challenge it in court once the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria was over.
Management of the company said in a statement issued Monday that the ban by the FG didn’t represent any law as contemplated by the National Broadcasting Code.
The statement read: “We note that whilst Section 2(1)r of the NBC Act entrusts the commission with the responsibility to ensure strict adherence to national laws, rules and regulations, we contend that an announcement by the Federal Government does not represent a law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “Ordinarily, we would disregard this statement as political backlash by the Federal Government in response to Twitter’s suspension of President Buhari’s comment on their platform.
“Ordinarily, we would expect the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation 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.
“We would have challenged the NBC and the 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 sections 22 of the same constitution guaranteeing press freedom.
‘’Ordinarily, we will 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.
“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, that we are henceforth and with immediate effect, suspending the use of Twitter to disseminate information and gather newsworthy information and opinions from the platform.
“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.”