SERAP Wants African Commission to Halt Media Bills Passage in Nigeria
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to stop the Nigerian government from passing into law two media bills that are pending before the National Assembly.
SERAP asked African Commission to “issue provisional measures to urgently stop the Nigerian government and the National Assembly from supporting and pushing through the bills, which it is claimed are designed to gag the media, and impose arbitrary and harsh punishment on journalists, broadcast stations, media houses and media practitioners in Nigeria.
The group made the demand in a Complaint letter addressed to the Chairperson of the Commission Solomon Ayele Dersso, and Commissioner and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Ms Jamesina Essie L. King.
SERAP in a complaint dated 26th June, 2021 and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, said the demand was made in line with Articles 55 and 56 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Rule 100 of the Rules of Procedure of the African Commission.
It urged the commission to request the following provisional measures from the Nigerian government and National Assembly to, “Immediately withdraw the oppressive bills to gag the media. The first is the bill to amend the National Broadcasting Act, and the second, is the bill to amend the Nigeria Press Council Act.
“Immediately end harassment and intimidation of journalists, broadcast stations, media houses and media practitioners in Nigeria, and to respect the rights to freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom, Unless the African Commission urgently intervenes in this case, there is a risk of irreversible denial of the Complainant’s and Nigerians’ rights, which in turn will render nugatory the resolutions and declarations by the African Commission on freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.
“Give assurances that they will not support and pass the anti-media bills being pushed by Nigerian authorities. The Nigerian authorities should also give assurances that they will fully implement the resolutions and declarations on freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom in the country.”
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