10 January 2013

Nigeria: NPAN Vs APCON - Court Rules Today

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The Federal High Court, Lagos, will today deliver its verdict on the appropriateness of the suit filed by the Newspaper Proprietors' Association of Nigeria (NPAN), challenging the constitutionality of some provisions of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and Sales Promotion as they affect newspaper houses.

The ruling which had been adjourned twice to allow for other official schedules of the Presiding Judge , Justice Musa Kurya, has been scheduled for today.

The court was initially scheduled to deliver its ruling on December 13, 2012 , but this had to be adjourned to December 19 , 2012, as the judge was away in Abuja for the Judges Conference. However, it was again adjourned till today for similar reason.

In instituting the suit , NPAN had dragged the Advertising Practitioners' Council of Nigeria (APCON), along with the Inspector General of Police before the court, arguing that the code infringed on the right of members of the association to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinion and to receive and impact ideas and information without interference

Today's ruling follows a preliminary objection to the suit as raised by APCON and which the lead counsel to NPAN, Mr Tayo Oyetibo , had urged the court to dismiss.

Mr. Oyetibo had argued that NPAN had sufficient interest to institute the suit since the APCON's regulation, which he described as unconstitutional, adversely affect owners of media houses.

He noted that contrary to the argument of APCON that the suit was to fight for the employees of newspaper houses who are being harrassed by the council and the police, the suit was filed to challenge the control newspaper houses by APCON

"Articles 21 and 137 (a) of the Nigerian Code of Advertising Practice and Sales Promotion expressly mentioned media houses and media houses are the targets of the provision" , Mr Oyetibo submitted even as he reemphasized that "this is a case being fought on behalf of members of the association who in any case had sufficient interest to do so.

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