By Onwuka Gerald
A Federal High Court presiding in Abuja on Friday threw away the case filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) against the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the National Broadcasting Commission(NBC) that rejected the fines imposed on three TV stations over coverage of #EndSARS protests.
The Court in its ruling said that SERAP has no locus standi (the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court) in the case, saying it is not part of the matter.
The presiding judge identified the case brought before it as a mere academic exercise.
SERAP had few weeks back contacted the Court to stop the N9million fine imposed on some broadcast stations for coverage given to EndSARS demonstrations.
SERAP demanded that the Court declare illegal, and unconstitutional the N9 million fines imposed on Arise TV, AIT and Channels TV over role during the nationwide protests.
In the suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/1436/2020 registered at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the plaintiffs demanded an order that would stop the fines unilaterally imposed by Lai Mohammed and the NBC on the three TV stations.
SERAP said the imposition of N3 million fine on the TV stations without affording them fair hearing was a violation of the constitutional rights of media houses in the country.
The suit read, “If the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed are allowed to continue using these oppressive means against independent media in the guise of performing their duties, the outcome will eventually turn out to be authoritarianism and denial of freedom.
“Lai Mohammed and the NBC have been using broadcasting codes as guise to suppress TV stations right to freedom of speech and expression”, the suit added.