Former Governor of Ekiti State, Peter Fayose has blasted the Federal Government over it’s decision to shut the media and fine people who might go on air to insult the President, Governors and other elected government officials.
He stated that this was the same medium which they used to spread lies while seeking power in 2014 and 2015.
Fayose revealed that the Nigerian populace were warned about the type of people coming to power but most turned deaf ears and are now regretting their decision.
Fayose wrote, “Sad that those who used the media to spread all kinds of lies while seeking power are afraid of a free press now that they are in power. You don’t want Nigerians to speak against President, Governors, Lawmakers and others who are like their servants?
Now, it is becoming clear that the freedom we enjoyed under military governments, we can’t enjoy in a democracy.
Unfortunately, when some of us who saw all these coming were warning Nigerians, the selfish ones whose only interest was to grab power turned deaf ears. Now, the consequences are on all Nigerians and it will definitely get worse.
May God return Nigeria to the path of greatness.”
Remember that after the appearance of Dr Obadiah Malaifa on Nigerian Info FM where he alleged that a Governor is the commander of the terrorist group Boko Haram in the country and also stated that Nigeria has no President, the Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed puts a fine on anyone who comes on air to insult the President and other elected members.
In his words, he said: “Monitoring activities indicate that in the recent time, some broadcast stations have abdicated their editorial responsibilities such that guests and callers on programmes abuse and insult leaders and those in authority freely and without caution.
“To denigrate our elders and leaders in abusive terms is not our culture. We respect our leaders as a positive cultural value.
“We expect Broadcasters, especially anchors to show professionalism in the handling of programmes such that guest or callers that exhibit such tendency are professionally handled.
“The recourse to abusing, denigrating and insulting the President, Governors, MPs and other leaders does not show us as cultured people.”
This didn’t go down well with the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission board who stated, according to PremiumTimes that the Minister ‘erroneously’ amended the sixth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, the chairman of the National Broadcasting Commission board, Ikra Bilbis, has said.
The minister while unveiling the reviewed code on August 4 in Lagos had said the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections. He said the aim was to reposition the NBC for optimum performance.
The code, since its amendment, has stirred up controversy in the industry with many Nigerians kicking against its provisions.
Many Nigerians view the move as a backdoor attempt to clamp down on free speech, dissent bad the media.
In the amended code, the ministry increased the fine for “hate speech” from N500,000 to N5 million. It also announced tougher regulation of web broadcast among others.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Mr. Bilbis said he received over 50 position papers for the sixth amendment of the code but none of them was used.
“Following the 2019 national elections, some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) made observations to the Honourable Minister of Information at an FEC meeting about the divisive broadcasts engaged in by some broadcast media before, during and after the elections and the need to strengthen the operations of the NBC to avert such future occurrence.
“This noble observation of Mr. President was unfortunately misunderstood by the Hon. Minister of Information.
“Instead of studying and following the law, relevant rules and regulations, and direct the appropriate authorities as stipulated by the law to act on, he erroneously embarked on the review alone.
“As a board, we have received and taken our time to compile the responses of numerous stakeholders which include our Nobel laureate, activists, legal practitioners, broadcasters, investors, BON, Content Creators, Copyright experts, and professional organizations. Most of them have adduced reasonable reasons against the proposed amendment.
“The NBC was set up by law and there is an Act that guides its operations. The Honourable Minister therefore cannot usurp the powers of the board as clearly stated in the act. Any such action by the Honourable Minister is illegal.
“The board of the NBC wishes to make it quite clear that as long as it is in place, the only NB Code that we recognize and which we shall work within the setting of operating policies and standards for the NBC is the 6th edition of the NB Code which was launched in 2019 in Kano,” he said.
He also said the board was informed of the launch of the new codes.
“You may all recall that by 26th march 2020, (the day of the ‘Public Presentation’ in Lagos), the federal government had already announced a COVID-19 lockdown of Lagos, Ogun states and the FCT.
“It was therefore not a sincere effort to present such an important ‘review document’ which affects people’s investments and livelihoods under such a situation,” he said.
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