The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives, the International Press Centre, Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education have expressed concerns over the harassment of Channels Television and its presenters by the Federal Government.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission had issued a notice of infraction against the management of Channels Television over an interview granted by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on its news and current affairs programme, Sunrise Daily.
The two presenters are Chamberlain Usoh and Kayode Okikiolu, the anchors of the programme.
Reacting to the development, the Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives in a statement by its Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, on Friday in Abuja, alleged that the action of the NBC constituted a dangerous move at stifling press freedom in Nigeria.
The lawmakers’ statement was titled, “Notice of infraction issued by National Broadcasting Commission against Channels Television, an abuse of democracy, another move to stifle press freedom.”
The caucus expressed worry “at the rapid descent of the country into the sort of repression and despotism experienced before the nation’s return to democracy.”
It said, “The assault on press freedom has reached a crescendo under this administration. Little wonder that Nigeria has emerged as the most dangerous place in West Africa for journalists, according to a survey released by global media advocacy organisation, Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters Sans Frontieres, to mark the 2020 World Press Freedom Day.”
The lawmakers recalled the suspension of the micro-blogging site, Twitter, from operating in Nigeria since Friday, June 4, 2021, on the allegation that its management allowed its platform to be used “for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”