Lai Mohammed, NBC charged to court over N5m hate speech fine

Lai Mohammed, NBC charged to court over N5m hate speech fine

- The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed has been charged to court by a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong

- Effiong is challenging the amendment of the NBC code and hiking the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m

- The case was filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos

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The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed and the federal government have been charged to court by a human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong for amending the broadcast code and hiking the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m.

The lawyer in the suit challenged the imposition of the N5m fine on Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos and the threat by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to punish other broadcast stations in the country over alleged hate speech, according to Sahara Reporters.

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A Nigerian lawyer has sued Lai Mohammed and the NBC for hiking the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m. Photo Credit: Nairaland forum
Source: Depositphotos

The case which was filed at the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, August 17, was marked with suit number FHC/L/CS/1088/2020.

Effiong in the suit asked the court to determine whether the imposition of penalties on broadcast stations for alleged contravention of the NBC code without a trial is not unconstitutional.

The lawyer argued that the actions of the minister of Information, the NBC and the federal government were against his freedom of expression.

He also asked the court to restrain the NBC, the minister of information and the federal government from imposing penalties on broadcast stations in Nigeria for comments during radio or television programmes.

Meanwhile, Femi Falana, a leading legal luminary, has condemned the N5 million fine imposed on a Lagos-based radio station by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the alleged promotion of hate speech.

Legit.ng recalls that on Thursday, August 13, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, a popular radio station in Lagos, was slammed with a sum of N5 million fine by the NBC.

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But Falana described the fine as illegal and further added that the amended code under which the radio station was sanctioned has not got a solid legal backing.

In another report, following the criticisms that greeted the N5m fine imposed on a Lagos-based radio station - 99.3FM by the NBC, a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has berated the federal government over the action.

Channels TV reported that the former vice president, in a statement he personally signed on Thursday, August 13, asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.

Legit.ng gathered that he disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.

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