Connect with us

News

Group Takes FG To ECOWAS Court Over NBC Amendment

Published

on

 

The Expression Now Human Rights Initiative has filed a suit against the Nigerian Government before the ECOWAS Court over the provisions and enforcement of hate speech in the Nigerian Broadcasting Code 6th Edition and its amendments.

The suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/, was filed through the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO)s’ counsel, Solomon Okedara.

Okedarain the suit, argued that “while the focus of many Nigerians is on the N5million, fine which the NBC Code (6th Edition) imposes in its Amendments, the Code even imposes other far-reaching penalties.

“For example, Article 15.2.1 of the Code provides for sanctions such as ‘Immediate order of suspension of broadcast services, Suspension of license and immediate shutdown/seal up of transmitter; and Revocation of license, seizure and forfeiture of transmitting equipment’

The counsel contended that while the N5million fine is “disproportionate and unjustifiable, penalties like ‘suspension of broadcast services, suspension of license, shut down/seal up of transmitter’ are excessive and disproportionate and can have a far more damaging effect on free speech”

Okedara further argued that the definition of ‘Hate Speech’ as given in the Code is ‘vague, ambiguous and overbroad.’

He also noted that the Code criminalises “offensive reference” and wondered if the drafters of the code realised that making “offensive reference” is integral to free speech and important to open, diverse and heterogeneous society.

The Applicant prayed the court for the following reliefs.

READ ALSO: Plateau Records 182 New COVID-19 Cases

(i) “A Declaration that the provisions of Articles 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 15.2.1 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) and Article 15.5.1 of the Amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) are in violation of Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 66 (2) (c) of the revised ECOWAS Treaty.

(ii) A Declaration that the defendant’s actions in giving effect to the provisions of Articles 3.1.1, 3.1.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) and Article 15.5.1 to penalize and fine the Applicant’s officers, members, associates, collaborators and indeed several other Nigerians, is in violation of the Applicant’s rights under Article 9(1) and (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Article 66 (2) (c) of the revised ECOWAS Treaty.

(iii) A Declaration that by the continued enforcement of Articles 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 15.2.1 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) and Article 15.5.1 of the Amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition), the Defendant is in breach of its obligation under the Revised ECOWAS Treaty…

(iv) A Declaration that the NBC not being an independent judicial body and not empowered by the Section 2 (h) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act lacks the power to enforce the provisions of Article 15.5.1 of the Amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) and indeed any other penal provisions in the Code.

(v) AN ORDER directing the Defendant to repeal or amend Articles 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 15.2.1 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) and Article 15.5.1 of the Amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) in line with its obligations under from the respective legislation Revised ECOWAS Treaty and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(vi) A PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Defendant and its agencies from further giving effect to the provisions of the Articles 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 15.2.1 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) and Article 15.5.1 of the Amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition).

Facebook Comments

Copyright © 2020 AN24.net