Following the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed all broadcasting stations in the country to immediately suspend the patronage of the platform.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Acting Director General of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, directed all broadcast stations to de-install their twitter handles and desist from using it as a source of information gathering for news and programme presentation.
He observed that it would be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to patronise the suspended Twitter as a source of its information and called for strict compliance.
Idachaba noted that the directive is in line with Section 2(1) r of the NBC Act, which entrusts the commission with responsibility to ensure strict adherence to the national laws, rules and regulations.
He said: “Section 3.11.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code provides that the broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a matter depicting that law and order are socially superior to or more desirable than crime and anarchy.
“Attention is also drawn to Section 5.6.3 of The Code which requires Broadcasters to be mindful of materials that may cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society in the use of a User Generated Content (UGC).”
Meanwhile, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the patently unlawful and unconstitutional directive by the NBC to all broadcast stations in the country to suspend the patronage of Twitter with immediate effect. SERAP, in a statement signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, states that the directive is unlawful because it is based on another unlawful decision by the Federal Government to suspend Twitter in Nigeria.
According to the organisation, the 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 The directive must be immediately withdrawn.
“Freedom of expression they said is a fundamental human right. This action by the 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 are essential to democracy.”
Also, the National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Chris Isiguzo, yesterday said the ban is undemocratic, obnoxious and totally unacceptable, while it called on President Buhari to reverse the ban.
Chief Isiguzo stated this in his address delivered during the third NUJ National Conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, noting that such decision is completely at variance with democratic tenets.
“At this point, let me pause and express our views about the recent decision by the Federal Government to place a ban on the activities of Twitter in Nigeria. We believe that the decision is completely at variance with Democratic tenets. A key ingredient of democratic governance is the right of the people to free expression.
“At any time, the people are restrained from freely expressing themselves, then democracy takes flight. The decision to ban Twitter is undemocratic, obnoxious and totally unacceptable. We there ask the government of President Buhari to without delay reverse the decision,” Isiguzo said.
Meanwhile, the Online Publishers of Nigeria (OPAN), Nigeria’s premier association of new media and online news publishers, has urged the government to immediately reverse the ban on Twitter operations in the country and stop infringing on the rights of citizens to freely express themselves.Follow us on social media