New Telegraph

Hate speech: NBC fine, attempt to gag press – Atiku

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has disagreed with the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the N5 million penalty imposed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM for airing the interview of Dr. Obadiah Mailafia.
Atiku, in a statement, said Dr. Mailafia’s interview did not constitute any infringement or if at all it exposes the station to trading in hate speech.
“Whether or not what Dr. Mailafia said on the radio station was a false claim, it is outside of the objectives of a responsible regulatory framework to sanction a radio station for a comment an individual made, more so that the personality in question, Dr. Obadiah, had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents.
“If for any reason the authorities are not satisfied with his explanations, they are at liberty to prosecute him in court, but not to make a scapegoat of the media platform that provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views,” he said.
The former vice president noted that the core functions of the mass media is to inform the society on all ranges of issues, “not even to the exclusion of national security issues. The mass media has a role to play in ensuring.”
Atiku said the fine imposed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM is an attempt to gag the media in Nigeria.
“We, therefore, call on the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to cause a review of the hate speech prohibition code because the very interpretation of same is offensive to the notion of free speech which is an essential ingredient of participatory democracy that Nigeria operates.
“We also demand of the NBC to drop the penalty against the operators of 99.3 Nigeria Info FM on account of the fact that the penalty is at best ill thought out,” he added.

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