The National Broadcasting Commission NBC, has been a 48 hours ultimatum by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), to revert it’s sanctions against AIT, Arise TV and Channels TV stations.
SERAP in a statement by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare said the action is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices.
He asked President Muhammadu Buhari to caution the NBC to stop intimidating and harassing independent media houses.
“NBC should drop the fines and uphold the Nigerian constitution and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom. We will sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.
“This is a new low in Nigeria’s protection of freedom of expression, and the ability of independent media to function in the country. The fines are detrimental to media freedom, and access to information and the NBC must immediately withdraw the decision.
“Media freedom and media plurality are a central part of the effective exercise of freedom of expression and access to information. The ability to practice journalism free from undue interference, to cover peaceful protests and critical views are crucial to the exercise of many other rights and freedoms.
“The media has a vital role to play as ‘public watchdog’ in imparting information of serious public concern and should not be inhibited or intimidated from playing that role. The NBC should stop targeting and intimidating independent media and voices.” SERAP stated.
The National Broadcasting Commission NBC, has fined the Arise TV, AIT and Channels Television broadcasting stations for using unverified social media videos in it’s reporting, thereby flouting NBC’s code of conduct.
The acting director-general of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, on Monday, October 26, disclosed that the media houses will be fined not less than N2 million by the commission.