The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Monday, October 26, 2020, slammed a fine of N3 million each on Channels Television, Africa Independent Television, and Arise Television.
What’s their offence?
The broadcasting regulatory body said the TV stations violated the rules of the profession during the #EndSars protests across Nigeria. It termed it as “unprofessional coverage” of protests.
The three stations were fined N3 million each for the coverage of #EndSars protest.
Making the announcement, the acting Director-General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, in Abuja said the fine would serve as a deterrent to other broadcasting stations.
Prof. Idachaba said that if the commission escalates the violations that emanated from the misuse of social media sources by broadcasting stations, some of the stations would comfortably be shut by the NBC.
NBC had earlier warned during the protest that all television and radio stations against reporting the #EndSARS protests in a manner that could embarrass the government or private individuals or cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has condemned the “unconstitutional and illegal” fines of N3 million each imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels Television, Arise Television, and Africa Independent Television over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
SERAP, PDP Kick
Reacting, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in a statement by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, described the action of the NBC as a ploy to silence the media.
He said, “This action by NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices. NBC should drop the fines and uphold Nigerian constitution and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom. We will sue NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.”
Also, the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement condemned the action of the NBC as part of the APC-led government to gag the media.
The PDP in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said “In fact, this display of high-handedness by the NBC has hugely detracted from the efforts being made by well-meaning Nigerians to douse the tension in the land and reassure Nigerians at this critical time.”