Ban On Twitter Not Violation Of Citizens’ Rights – Court Declares
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has held that the restriction of Nigerians to access to twitter by the Federal Government did not amount to a violation of citizens’ right to freedom of expression and accordingly dismissed the suit filed by Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
Delivering judgment on Thursday,
Justice Obiora Egwuatu further held that the ban on twitter in Nigeria did not in anyway violate the constitutionally guaranteed press freedom.
The judge agreed with the respondents that the Federal Government reserves the power to control the nation’s cyber space and to insist that twitter must meet all requirements to operate in Nigeria as a corporate entity.
In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/496/2021, with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Director-General of NBC and the Minister of Information and Culture as defendants, SERAP had complained that the directive by NBC for broadcast stations to deactivate their twitter accounts, in compliance with the ban on the use of the social media platform violated rights to freedom of expression, information, press freedom, among others.
The group prayed the court to among others, issue an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Federal Government and the NBC from “censoring, regulating, licensing and controlling the social media operations and contents by broadcast stations and activities of social media service providers in Nigeria.”
In his judgment on Thursday, Justice Egwuatu further agreed with the respondents that, in line with the Supreme Court’s decision in Dokubo Asari, human rights takes back stage where national security is threatened.
He said since Nigerians have other social media platforms to express themselves, and that talks were at advance stage to resolve issues with the Nigerian government, the ban on twitter cannot be said to have constrained Nigerians’ freedom.
The judge proceed to dismiss the suit and awarded N100million cost against SERAP and in favour of the respondents.
Culled from The Sun