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Ekiti Broadcast: Allow Journalists To Resume Work, Int’l Journalists’ C’tee Tells FG

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The Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ] has mandated the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to permit journalists at the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) to return to work immediately.

BSES was shut by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the federal government-run broadcast regulator, after the state governor, Ayodele Fayose on July 14 made a broadcast on the radio station.

Governor Fayose went on the state broadcaster and declared victory for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidatate, Kolapo Olusola Eleka, in the governorship election.

His announcement came before the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] announced the results.

The NBC on July 15 called Fayose’s actions a violation of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act.

Reacting to the closure, CPJ Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Robert Mahoney said that Fayose’s action should serve as basis for throwing the workers, which are journalists, out of their jobs.

He said: “The alleged infractions by the Ekiti state broadcaster do not justify the ongoing closure of a major source of public information.

Mr. Robert Mahoney, therefore, stated that “the journalists should be permitted to return to work immediately.”

Mahoney made the statement on July 18, 2018, at CPJ’s headquarters in New York.

NBC Director General, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo

Further efforts by CPJ to resolve the matter with NBC was abortive as the Director General of the NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo wasn’t available for talks.

Also, calls to the head of public affairs for the NBC, Maimuna Jimada, “to ask for clarification on the sanctioning process and reasoning for the closure”, went unanswered.

Days before the closure, on July 11, the NBC also fined the state broadcaster 500,000 naira for allegedly failing to meet ethical standards.

The NBC also took issue with Lere Olayinka, the spokesperson for the PDP governorship candidate, Olusola Eleka, as well as media aide of Governor Fayose.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide.

It defends the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.

CPJ is made up of about 40 experts around the world, with headquarters in New York City.

When press freedom violations occur, CPJ mobilizes a network of correspondents who report and take action on behalf of those targeted.

A clear case was that of the Elombah brothers, Daniel and Tim, who were arrested on January 1, 2018, Editor and Chief Executive respectively, of the independent ElombahNews website.

Following the arrest, Timothy was detained for 25 days in police den until court granted him bail.

CPJ later asked the Nigerian authorities to immediately drop plans to charge Daniel and Tim, a call which went unheeded.

CPJ reports on violations in repressive countries, conflict zones, and established democracies alike.

CPJ’s work is based on its research, which provides a global snapshot of obstructions to a free press worldwide.

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