The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened to sue the National Broadcasting Station (NBC) in the next 48 hours if the N9m fines imposed on some media houses are not rescinded.
The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, fined media houses including AIT, Channels TV and Arise TV, over what they claimed was usage of unverifiable online footages during the #EndSARS protest.
This was made known in a report by AIT earlier today, in a report which stated that the regulators imposed various fines on Arise TV, African Independent Television (AIT) and Channels Television between N2million and N3million.
“The National Broadcasting Commission has sanctioned Africa Independent Television, AIT, Arise TV and Channels for what it calls, a gross violation of the broadcast code, top of which is the use of unverifiable online video footages on the social media,” AIT said.
The Acting Director-General of the commission, Armstrong Idachaba, warned that further sanctions will be harsher and announced that the owners of AIT, DAAR Communications would be fined separately for alleged reports of a fire incident at the National Christian Centre.
Reacting to the report on Twitter, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), condemned the sanctions and threatened to sue NBC if the fines, which they described as “illegal” are not rescinded within 48 hours.
The rights group also said the action taken by the NBC “is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices”
See their statement below;
“We condemn the illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
We’ll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.
This action by the NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices. The NBC should drop the fines and uphold Nigerian constitution and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom.
The fines are detrimental to freedom of expression and the media, and access to information in Nigeria, and the NBC must 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.”
BREAKING: We condemn the illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
We'll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.
— SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) October 26, 2020