N5m fine: PDP condemns media clampdown

 

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it described as the renewed clampdown on the media and gagging of free speech in the country by the Federal Government.

The party’s reaction is coming in the backdrop of the N5 million fine imposed on a broadcast station, Nigeria Info, for alleged hate speech.

In a statement on Friday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party insisted that, the Federal Government on its own cannot impose sanctions against a media house or individuals for expressing their right to free speech.

The PDP said its position was without prejudice to the allegations or claims the Federal Government has against the broadcast station on issues of content.

The Federal Government had, on Wednesday slammed a N5 million fine on Nigeria Info over an interview the organisation had with a former presidential candidate, Dr Obadiah Mailafia wherein the latter alleged, among others, that an unnamed northern governor was a commander of Boko Haram.

The PDP argued that if any public official felt libeled or their rights infringed upon by any other Nigerian, such official should seek redress through constitutional means.

The statement said, “As a party, the PDP stands against draconian methods or underhand measures which this administration has set out to gag the media and erode the rights of Nigerians as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“Our party holds that due process must be followed for redress in instances where violations are alleged and not by extra judicial sanctions and clampdown on the media, as being witnessed under the APC administration.

“The PDP, standing in solidarity with Nigerians, therefore condemns any attempt to gag the media and asks the APC federal government to rescind its draconian actions and reverse to due process, as provided by the 1999 Constitution, in handling issues relating to the freedom of the media.”