The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned what it sees as the renewed clampdown on the media and gagging of free speech in our country by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
Making the condemnation in a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, in Abuja on Friday, the party insisted that, 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 PDP held that if anybody, be it 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 libelled or infringed upon by any other Nigerian, the process for redress is clearly stated in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and should be followed.
The statement added: “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 extrajudicial 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.”
Recall that Nigeria Info, a broadcast station based in Abuja, had the sum of N5 million fine slammed on it for airing an interview with former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia.