ARISE TV:  Let Democracy Breathe- HURIWA to NBC

ARISE TV: Let Democracy Breathe- HURIWA to NBC

Civil Rights Advocacy Group- Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has cautioned the National Broadcasting Commission of Nigeria that behaves like an agency of fascism, not to continuously behave as though it was been teleguided,  manipulated and mechanically remote controlled by haters of democracy, free speech and constitutionalism,  to scuttle Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.

HURIWA has called on the anti-people, anti-democracy hierarchy of the Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission to take cognizance of the indubitably, incontrovertible and irrevocable fact that the  Grand norm or the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is more Supreme and bigger than any public office holders and therefore the NBC set up by an inferior legislative template can’t be seen attempting crudely to revoke the constitutional freedoms enshrined copiously in chapter 4 of the Constitution including freedom of information just as the Constitution in section 22 has empowered the media of mass communication to do the duty of a vanguard and conscience of the nation and monitor the behaviours of public institutions and public office holders to ensure that the rule of law, respect for constitutionalism and fundamental freedoms recognised internationally under the Universal Declarations of Human Rights (UDHR), the African Charter on people’s and human rights, the international covenant on civil and political rights and a plethora of international human rights treaties.

HURIWA said the persistent attempt by NBC to muzzle the exercise of the  fundamental human rights of Nigerians including attempting to force Broadcasting stations to start operating as if they are in the era of Musolini’s fascism of Italy of far years gone by or as if Nigeria is under the North Korean type of absolute tyranny by not featuring critics or Nigerians of divergent views different from those of the persons in government of the day, must be actively resisted by all and sundry so that democracy is not imperilled. 

The Rights group is accusing the NBC of working with reactionary elements to scuttle democracy and institute absolute monarchical type of governance in this 21st century Nigeria. Nigerians, it said should and must actively resist this negative forces who are bent on scuttling the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms by the Nigerian citizens.

HURIWA recalled that at the weekend, the fascist head of the  National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said he has given the operators of Arise Television final warning on alleged violation of Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Director-General of NBC, Balarabe Shehu llelah who since his appointment by immediate past President of the immediate past infamy called administration, gave the warning in a letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Arise Global Limited and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Abuja.

In the letter titled “Preponderance of derogatory and incendiary remarks: Final warning”, Ilelah said the commission had observed with concern, the preponderance of incendiary remarks allowed on Arise News.

“This letter once again seeks to underscore the tremendous responsibility put on the broadcaster to manage array of guests that may feature on the station from time to time. “For the benefit of doubt, on Oct. 5 during the programme – ‘The Morning Show’, anchored by Reuben Abati, Rufai Useni and Ayo Mairo Ese, featured Oladotun Hassan and Dele Farotimi as guests. “The programme contained unguarded incendiary remarks by Dele Farotimi against the legislature, executive, judiciary and Mr President. “Similarly, On Oct. 6, during the programme “Newsday”, it featured Kenneth Okonkwo (Spokesperson for Labour Party) who used derogatory remarks on air. “Your attention is therefore drawn to the relevant sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code for compliance please,” Ilelah said.

Besides, HURIWA recalled that the NBC boss explained further that section 1.10.3 says the broadcaster shall ensure that its presenter does not express his or her opinion in the programme, as a matter of professional standard. He said section 3.3.1 (a) stipulates that the broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate Illelah said 3.3.3 (c) provided that the broadcaster shall be above inherent biases, prejudices and subjective mindsets. According to section 3.3.1(e), the Broadcaster shall not treat any individual or organisation in an unjust and unfair manner in any programme. The NBC boss further explained that section 5.3.3(b) of the code stated that the broadcaster shall, in using political materials for news and current affairs programmes, avoid hate speech, inflammatory, derogatory, and divisive remarks of allusions.

“Section 5.5.6 says, the broadcaster shall have a delay mechanism to guard against possible undesirable content.

“Arise TV is advised to install a delay mechanism to guard against possible undesirable contents as prescribed in Section 5.5.6 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Please note that henceforth, your station shall be held liable for any infraction on your platform and applicable sanctions shall be imposed as prescribed by Law,” Ilelah stressed.

HURIWA however faulted the undemocratic position of NBC just as it stated that the provisions of the constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms can’t be destroyed arbitrarily by an agency of government that is attempting to assume the role of the accused and the judge in the same matter even as the Rights group said Television, Broadcasting stations as well as the printing press are essential agencies that are set up to act individually and collectively as the conscience of the nation under section 22 of the Constitution.

HURIWA said the nation’s law books are replete with media laws on defamation which it said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu can exercise his fundamental human rights as a citizen to institute a suit against any station he thinks has defamed him just as the Rights group said the NBC as a publicly funded agency is not the megaphone or private ‘house-boy’ of President Bola Tinubu to start monitoring which programmes on TV has defamed the person of the President or the other.

HURIWA said that as President,  Tinubu is to be subjected to the highest public scrutiny possible and can’t hide under privacy laws to escape critical questions concerning the academic credentials he tendered to run for public office. ‘Those who are in the kitchen and are disturbed by the heat should quit and not misuse public power to muzzle the rights of TV stations to carry on their job”.

Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko;

National Coordinator,


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