Following the recently announced 5 million naira hate speech fine, a non-governmental organisation, Expression Now Human Rights Initiative has dragged the Federal Government before the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
The group in the suit filed by its lawyer, Solomon Okedara referred to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) on fine for hate speech.
Okedara said the fine is unjustifiable adding that penalties like a suspension of broadcast services, suspension of licence among others can have a damaging effect on free speech.
According to the group, the definition of hate speech, as given in the code, is vague, ambiguous and overbroad.
It argued that the 5 million naira fine contradict Nigeria’s obligation under the Revised ECOWAS Treaty.
The group stated that the fine also contradicts the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
However, it prayed that the ECOWAS court should restrain the Federal Government and its agencies from enforcing Articles 3.1.1, 3.1.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition) and Article 15.5.1 of the Amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition).