The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected moves by President Muhammadu Buhari to impose “stringent regulations” on online media and broadcast organisations.
Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, announced during the week that the President has approved the review of the National Broadcasting Code to increase fines from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches relating to hate speech, inciting comments and indecency.
He also disclosed that the government will regulate online media and license web TV channels among others.
In a release signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Sunday, opposition PDP accused Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempt to “further gag he media, subjugate Nigerians and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression.”
The party said the announcement by Mr Mohammed “is completely obnoxious, anti-democratic and a direct violation of statutory rules governing media practice and freedom of expression in Nigeria.”
It rejects the presidential declaration of political comments as “Class A” offence, insisting that such is designed to undermine the nation’s constitutional democracy, exterminate the rights of citizens to dissenting public opinion, emasculate the opposition and foist a dictatorship and one-party system on our nation.
“Our party alerts that such moves amount to an attempt to amend our constitution to take away the rights of citizens and undermine our democratic institutions; a development that has the capacity to destabilize our dear nation.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that this dictatorial pathway which the Buhari Presidency seeks to impose if allowed, will herald the gradual emasculation of freedom of expression, repression of free press, infringements on the rights of citizens and foisting of siege mentality on the people.
Nigerians are already apprehensive that the directive is geared towards clearing the ground for the introduction of certain harsh policies in our country,” Mr Ologbondiyan’s statement said.
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