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‘Unconstitutional act’ — editors condemn shutdown of broadcast stations in Zamfara

‘Unconstitutional act’ — editors condemn shutdown of broadcast stations in Zamfara
October 17
22:15 2022

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) says the closure of four broadcast stations in Zamfara is “unlawful” and “unconstitutional”.

TheCable had reported that the Zamfara government ordered the closure of some media houses in Gusau, the state capital, for allegedly covering a political rally organised by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

The affected media stations are the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)’s Pride FM, Gamji TV, and FM, Al umma TV.

Mustapha Isah and Iyobosa Uwugiaren, president and general secretary of NGE, respectively, in a statement on Monday, said no state government has the right to shut any media house.

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“While the NGE doesn’t even want to go into the illegality of the ban on political activities in that state, our primary concern here is the unlawful and unconstitutional action of the state governor against the affected stations for carrying out their constitutional and social obligations – of reporting events and keeping the citizens informed of political developments in the state,” the statement reads.

“In fact, the shut stations would have been accused of unprofessional misconduct if they didn’t cover that rally. We are also encouraged by the fact that the regulatory agency of broadcasting, the NBC, has also condemned the unlawful action of Governor Bello Matawalle.

“The media reserves the right to cover all events, whether or not they are banned. No state government reserves the right to shut down any media house, in spite of their perceived infractions.

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“In this case, the Zamfara State governor should have written a petition to the NBC, if at all the affected stations committed any infraction, instead of resorting to self-help.

“The Guild stands for press freedom and freedom of expression and will always speak out against any attempt to muzzle the media.”

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