A lawsuit has been filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) against President Muhammadu Buhari over the N5 million fine imposed on Channels TV over a recent interview with Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.
SERAP and CJID are asking the court to declare the fine as "arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional" in the suit which also has the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture as Defendants.
While placing the fine on Channels TV, NBC stated that the interview violated the latter's code.
SERAP and CJID filed the suit last week at the Federal High Court, Lagos and it is marked FHC/L/CS/616/2023.
Both parties are urging the court to determine “whether the NBC code used to impose a fine of N5m on Channels TV and the threat of ‘higher sanctions’ is not inconsistent and incompatible with access to information and media freedom.”
They also want “a declaration that the NBC code used by the NBC to impose a fine of N5m on Channels TV and the threat of ‘higher sanctions’ is arbitrary, unconstitutional and unlawful, as it violates the rights to a fair hearing, freedom of expression, access to information and media freedom.”
“Imposing any fine whatsoever without due process of law is arbitrary and unconstitutional, as it contravenes the fundamental principles of nemo judex in causa sua which literally means one cannot be a judge in his own cause and audi alteram partem which means no one should be condemned unheard”. they said.
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