The Boss of Daar Communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi, has said the president-elect does not have the power to stop the television station from covering his activities, as doing so would amount to breaking the law and bringing back the era of Decree 4.
If we recall, Buhari as the head of state promulgated Decree 4, tagged Public Officers (Protection Against False Accusation) on March 29, 1984.
The law was initiated to punish authors of false statements and reports that exposed the Buhari administration and/or its officials to ridicule or contempt. Many journalists were arrested and jailed under the law.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), Yesterday, reversed the decision of the president-elect to exclude AIT, saying all accredited media houses are free to report on his activities.
But while speaking exclusively to Premium Times yesterday, Dokpesi stated that Buhari should be reminded that he cannot return Nigeria to the era of Decree 4.
“I am sure that the President-elect needs to be reminded of Decree 4, and he should be clearly reminded that section 32 of the constitution makes it mandatory for the media to hold public officials accountable to the people,” he said.
He also said Section 39 of the constitution equally grants Nigerians the freedom of expression and to hold opinions. “The president-elect said that he does not want to be covered by AIT, but AIT has a responsibility to the Nigerian public to report the things that are happening,” he said.
“There are three national networks available for national coverage in Nigeria, the NTA, AIT and Silverbirds. You cannot stop a foremost private station from reporting in Nigeria, it brings us back to Decree 4 era.”
“If they had produced their own documentary to say this is what we want and AIT did not publish it, then that is another matter. What is obviously very clear is the fact that AIT believes that the historical information about the President elect that were ran, were factually correct. Nothing was done to defame him or impinge on his character or integrity.” He concluded.