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The attention of the Centre for Liberty has been drawn to a recent development, that some telecommunications networks in Nigeria have allegedly imposed a block on the website of one of Nigeria’s budding news platforms, People’s Gazette, since around 7:00PM on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
The People’s Gazette, like many other news mediums in Nigeria, has been consistent in standing with the Nigerian People. We have seen how the medium has consistently demonstrated fearlessness and commitment to truth, even in the face of the ever-growing repressive policies and actions of General Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.
We consider this unscrupulous move to be an extremely disturbing affront against the freedom of the press which is assured under the Nigerian constitution 1999 (as amended), as well as in other contemporary democratic nations the world over.
We are concerned that a move like this may have been sanctioned by a top regulatory agency or arm of the Nigerian government, and the Nigerian Communications Commision (NCC), as the National Regulatory Authority for the telecommunications industry in Nigeria, must be swift to call those involved in this shameful act to order; not only to dispel our concern that they may have sanctioned this condemnable act, but also to show the world that the Nigerian government is committed to respecting the freedom of the press.
We, therefore, demand the immediate lifting of this unscrupulous blocking of People’s Gazette’s website. We equally demand that those who took part in this shameful and repressive move among the telecommunications networks in Nigeria, must be brought to book for attempting to undermine press freedom, digital freedom and democracy in Nigeria. Allowing tyrannical actions like this to go unpunished will only make Nigeria a pariah among other democratic nations, and will ultimately weigh unpleasantly on the regime of General Muhammadu Buhari.
We also call on the Nigerian Union of Journalists, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and all advocates of press freedom and digital freedom in Nigeria to demand the immediate restoration of access to the People’s Gazette’s website.
Signed by: Co-conveners, Centre for Liberty: Raphael Adebayo, Deji Adeyanju, Ariyo Dare-Atoye
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