The International Press Institute (IPI) Nigeria has condemned the order by the Zamfara State government for the closure of some media organisations operating in the state.
Gov. Bello Matawalle, on Saturday, ordered the immediate shutdown of some public and private media organisations, for allegedly violating government order and journalism practice.
The affected media houses included the federal government-owned Radio Nigeria’s Pride FM in Gusau, and the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Gusau.
Others are Gamji Television, Vision FM, and Al Umma Television.
A statement signed earlier by the state’s Commissioner of Information, Ibrahim Dosara announced the shutdown.
Dosara said the government through state security approved and ordered the closure of some media outlets in the state for allegedly violating government order and journalism practice.
IPI Nigeria, in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, kicked against the media shutdown.
In the statement signed by its President, Musikilu Mojeed, IPI said that the Zamfara State government does not have the power to shut down media houses.
It called on the Zamfara State Police Commissioner not to enforce the directive by the government.
The statement enumerates that the order by the state government clearly violates the 1999 Constitution as amended, and has no place in Nigeria.
“Shutting down media houses is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of Nigeria.
“If any media organisation has flouted any law, the only option opened to the Zamfara State government is to approach the court for redress.
“Resorting to self help as done by the Zamfara State government threatens the rule of law and could lead to anarchy,” the statement explained.
It asserted that by shutting down media houses, the Zamfara State government has taken the law into its own hands.
IPI Nigeria, therefore reiterates its demand for immediate withdrawal of all directives impeding freedom of expression in Zamfara State.
It also demands an apology from the state government for its act.
It calls on federal authorities to direct the Zamfara State governor to comply with the dictates of the rule of law.
The statement said this should be done by immediately withdrawing the order for the shutting down of the media organisations.