The Lagos lawyer asks the government to withdraw its threat to clamp down on two leading online newspaper.
The Federal Government has been warned to back off from its planned clampdown on online journalism or risk being faced with vehement resistance.
Human rights lawyer, Bamidele Aturu, stated that the threat by the government to censor online media is reminiscent of military dictatorship.
“We did not fight military despotism to end up with civilian autocracy. The right of the press to inform and educate the people is not only a constitutional right it is an inalienable right that many Nigerians fought for with their lives and limbs to get enshrined in our Constitution. We will fight the government on the streets, in the courts, in the markets and even in ASO ROCK if it dares.”
Whilst making reference to a statement credited to Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, to clampdown on PREMIUM TIMES and Sahara Reporters because of their enterprising journalism, he said the law of sedition the government is threatening to use to clampdown on these media organisation is alien to democracy.
“While I do not encourage irresponsible journalism, I have always argued that the law of sedition has no place in a democracy,” Mr. Aturu said. “If the government is convinced that it has been misreported or misrepresented it has the opportunity to present facts and figures to embarrass any journalist who fabricates facts or figures. This is why we have Ministries of Information and officials paid from the public treasury.
“When governments show irritation to stories in the media, it creates the impression that it has no ideas on how to govern.
“My advice to the government is to leave Premium Times, Sahara Reporters and other cyber media alone. Our peoples are not fools. They know the difference between senseless journalism and responsible journalism. We don’t need the government to tell us the difference.”
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