Advocacy groups sue Buhari, others for imposing N5m fine each on Trust TV, MultiChoice, others

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) have sued President Muhammadu Buhari and two others at the Federal High Court, Lagos, over the N5million fines imposed on Trust TV, MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, NTA-Startimes Limited, and Telecom Satellite Limited following their broadcast of documentaries on terrorism.

Joined in the suit as defendants, are the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The NBC had, last week, assigned fines on the media companies, claiming the documentaries glorified the activities of bandits, undermined national security, and contravened provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

 But in the suit, filed last Friday, SERAP and CJID are seeking an order setting aside “the arbitrary and illegal fines” of N5 million and any other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by NBC on the media houses for carrying out their constitutional duties.

They want the court to declare that the act of the defendants imposing a fine of N5 million each on the media houses is unlawful, inconsistent with, and amounts to a breach of the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, and, therefore, a violation of the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and media freedom.

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