The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the illegal fines of N3 million each imposed by the National Broadcasting Station (NBC) on Africa Independent Television (AIT), Arise TV, and Channels TV and has threatened to sue if the fines are not lifted within 48 hours.
They disclosed this in a tweet after Armstrong Idachaba, the acting Director-General of NBC sanctioned the media channels for a termed he used as “unprofessional coverage” during the #EndSARS crisis.
The television stations were reportedly accused of airing unverified images of the alleged shooting on peaceful #EndSARS protesters which took place at Lekki toll gate.
According to SERAP, the action taken by the NBC “is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices”
Read also: NBC tells media channels not to embarrass Buhari’s govt with coverage of #EndSARS protest
Read statement below;
“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 We’ll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.
“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We'll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.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