By Dirisu Yakubu
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Friday condemned what it called the renewed clampdown on media and gagging of free speech by the federal government.
The party’s position was in a reaction to the recent N5 million fine imposed on Nigeria Info, a private radio station for allegedly broadcasting hate speech.
In a statement issued by the PDP publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said “without prejudice to the allegations or claims the federal government has against Nigeria Info, a broadcast station, on issues of content, the federal government cannot, on its own, impose sanctions against a media house or individuals for expressing their right to free speech.”
The statement further read: “The PDP holds that if any anybody, be he the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a state governor, a Senator of the Federal Republic, a Member of the House of Representatives, a public entity, or even the most ordinary Nigerian, have been libeled or infringed upon by any other Nigerian, the process for redress is clearly stated in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and should be followed.
“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.”
The federal government sanctioned the broadcast station earlier in the week after it hosted former Presidential candidate, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia who in the course of the programme, accused an unnamed governor of sponsoring Boko Haram terrorists.
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