Section 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution: Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly

Freedom

The 1999 Constitution

Section 39 (1)

Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.

(This guarantees your freedom of expression and the freedom to hold and express your opinions and information without interference from anyone)


Section 39 (2)

Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions: Provided that no person, other than the Government of the Federation or of a State or any other person or body authorised by the President on the fulfilment of conditions laid down by an Act of the National Assembly, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for, any purpose whatsoever.

(Even though you are free to express, establish and operate any medium for the purpose of sharing your ideas, opinions and information, the media you own to share these ideas, opinions and information is limited. You are allowed to own print media or any other form of media except television or wireless broadcasting (radio) without the permission of the State, Federal Government or body authorised by the President once you have fulfilled conditions laid down by an Act of the National Assembly.)


Section 39 (3) (a)

Nothing in this section shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society –

for the purpose of preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, maintaining the authority and independence of courts or regulating telephony, wireless broadcasting, television or the exhibition of cinematograph films; or

(If it is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, limits can be put on your freedom to express your opinion/ information if the information was received in confidence, or it affects the authority and independence of the courts or used to regulate telephones, radios, television or cinemas.)


Section 39 (3) (b)

imposing restrictions upon persons holding office under the Government of the Federation or of a State, members of the armed forces of the Federation or members of the Nigeria Police Force or other Government security services or agencies established by law.

(If it is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, limits can be put on the freedom of expression of people who hold government positions, or anyone who is a member of any of the security forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.)


Section 40

Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests: Provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by this Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which that Commission does not accord recognition.

(You can gather freely and associate with any person and belong to any group which you believe protects your interests provided it is not a political party which INEC does not recognise.)

Your Fundamental Human Rights!

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