Don’t Sanction BBC, Daily Trust Over Documentaries—SERAP Urges Buhari

July 31, 2022
bandits as terrorists

By Adedapo Adesanya

President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) not to sanction the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust over their documentaries on terrorism in the country.

Last week, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, said that the BBC and Trust TV, run by Daily Trust Newspapers, would be punished by the federal government for airing documentaries that allegedly “glorify”, “promote”, and “fuel” terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.

In a letter dated July 30, 2022, signed by SERAP deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said, “The media has the duty to impart information and ideas on issues of public importance. If carried out, the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would inhibit the media from reporting on issues of public interest.”

According to SERAP, “Media houses and journalists ought to be given the room to determine how best to present information of public interest, especially information about the growing violence and killings across the country.”

The organization said, “Rather than punishing the media for promoting access to diverse opinions and information on issues of public importance, your government should focus on delivering your promises to ensure the security of Nigerians.”

The organization also said, “Carrying out the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would lessen the flow of diverse viewpoints and information to the public.”

“The grounds for sanctioning the BBC and Daily Trust as stated by Mr Mohammed fail to meet the requirements of legality, necessity, and proportionality.

“The requirement of necessity also implies an assessment of the proportionality of the grounds, with the aim of ensuring that the excuse of ‘glorifying, promoting, and fuelling terrorism and banditry’ are not used as a pretext to unduly intrude upon the rights to freedom of expression and access to information.”

“Any interference with the constitutional and legal duties of the BBC and Daily Trust would not be justified in the context of the right to information,” it stated.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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