Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has described the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to all broadcast stations in the country to suspend the patronage of Twitter with immediate effect as unlawful and draconian.
While condemning the directive, the human rights group also said the directive was unlawful and unconstitutional and that such was saddening in a Democratic setting.
SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said that asking media houses to deactivate Twitter over the government position that the platform was been used for “activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria.”
Through a statement on Monday, Oluwadare maintained that the directive by the NBC was itself unlawful because it was based on another unlawful decision by the apex government to suspend Twitter operation in Nigeria.
According to him, NBC’s directive has political interference written all over it. It is a blow to Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression, media freedom, media independence, and diversity. The directive must be immediately withdrawn.
The statement, read in part: “Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. This action by NBC is yet another nail in the coffin for human rights, media freedom, and independent journalism under this government.
“The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights should publicly and vigorously express concerns over the Nigerian government’s increasingly brutal crackdown on media freedom, and use all possible means to urge the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to protect and respect freedom of expression.
“The international community should stand with the broadcast stations and journalists and make clear to the Nigerian government that freedom of expression, media freedom, transparency, and accountability, as well as respect for the rule of law is essential to democracy.
“The UN and donors should continue to take every opportunity to call on the Nigerian government to rescind the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, respect freedom of expression, and media freedom, and hold to account anyone targeting broadcast stations and journalists simply for carrying out their professional duty.”