Veteran journalist calls on Nigerian media, citizens to disobey proposed press law

A VETERAN journalist and co-founder of Tell Magazine, Nosa Igiebor, has called on Nigerians and the media to disobey any proposed law that infringes on press freedom and their right to freedom of speech.

Igiebor said this during an interview with The ICIR regarding the proposed amendment of the Nigeria Press Council Act.

The journalist said the Federal Government’s proposed amendment of the Act was not only an attempt to curtail press freedom, but it was also an infringement on the freedom of speech of all Nigerians.

Igiebor urged Nigerians and the press to disobey the law even if the government eventually passed it.

He argued that the law should be disobeyed because it infringed on the freedom of speech, noting that the law could only be functional if only it was obeyed by Nigerians.

“The law will only be applicable if you obey that law. When a law is passed and you know this law is against your freedom, why would you obey it?” Igiebor asked.

He noted that Nigerians had no reason to obey laws that would gag them and challenge their freedom.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has shown intolerance to criticisms. It is planning to amend the Nigeria Press Council Act, which, among other draconian contents, proposes punitive measures against media houses and practitioners for any violation of the press code -without reference to the  judiciary. 

    The government has banned a microblogging platform, Twitter, in Nigeria on flimsy excuses, thereby attracting the ire of the global community.

    But Igiebor called for a total media blackout as a form of protest against attempts by the Nigerian government to regulate the press and curtail the freedom of speech.

    According to him, the press could go to court to challenge the law, but they should also make it inoperable by disobeying it.

    “My suggestion, tweaking that a bit, is that we can serve a warning or notice to say both print and electronic will embark on total blackout. We would publish or broadcast no news, nothing in protest,”  Igiebor said.

    “Yes, total blackout for a whole day. We say that is a warning notice and that we are doing it to register our protest against the attempt by government to curtain freedom of speech.
    “So, I agree that if they do not relent, the media and the public need to take such drastic measures to let them know that we would not take this lying low and that we would never accept it,” he noted.




    Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via [email protected], on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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