NBC fines Channels TV, AIT, Arise over #EndSARS coverage


The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined three national television networks N3 million each over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests.

The stations sanctioned by the commission are Channels Television, Arise Television and Africa Independent Television for what it termed “unprofessional coverage” of the protests.

The acting Director-General of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, announced this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.

Recall that the NBC had last week warned 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.

Idachaba said the sanction would serve as deterrent to broadcasters who did not verify news stories before they broadcast.

He said the commission was concerned about the professional misdemeanour of some broadcasting stations in the past couple of days.

“In line with the provision of section 5.6.9 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which states that the broadcaster shall be held liable for any breach of the code emanation from the use of material from User Generated Sources, the commission, therefore, sanctioned Arise TV, Channels TV and AIT in line with the provision of the broadcasting code.

"Channels Television, Arise TV and AIT especially continued to transmit footages obtained from unverified and unauthenticated social media sources.

“No doubt, these pictures stimulated anger and heightened the violence that was witnessed during the #EndSARS crisis.

“If you escalate the violation that have emanated from the misuse of social media sources by broadcasting it will escalate the sanction.

“According to the provision of the law, we can comfortably shut them down because what they are doing is capable of breakdown of law and order.

“No responsible country will sit down and allow any form of media to bring down the country.

“Look at the level of damage and killings that happened on account of unverified news report.

“In line with the provision of the code section B which is heavy fine between N500, 000 to N5 million, we will communicate that to the affected stations depending on the magnitude of breaches.

“But none of them will pay less than N2 to N3 million and any further breach will led to the withdrawal of licence,’’ Idachaba said.

The acting DG cautioned broadcasters against airing materials that could embarrass individuals, organisations or cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society.

“We believe that the whole country has now seen why the spurious and recklessness on the social media must not be patronised by the mainstream traditional media.’’

Idachaba used the occasion to condemn the assault and intimidation of media houses.

He said the burning of TVC Lagos and the brief closure of Channels TV Lagos were worrisome indicators of mob treat to the freedom of press.

According to him, no nation can grow when the citizens muzzle and intimidate its press.

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