National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, today imposes a fine of N9m on ARISE TV, Channels TV and AIT. The agency had fined the television stations N3m each for what it termed “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests. SERAP, on its part, also threatens to sue NBC Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, today condemned this action by the NBC. SERAP made known this reaction through a statement realized on the groups official twitter account. The group gave NBC 48 hours to rescind the fines or the agency will have to face legal actions. Meanwhile, the following are the reasons SERAP threatens to sue NBC, as disclosed in the group’s statement.
- The action by the NBC is an example of “Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices”.
- NBC is not upholding the Nigerian constitution and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression.
- The fines imposed are detrimental to media freedom, and access to information
- The NBC is hindering the independence of the media through the sanction. “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 NBC is inhibiting the media from playing the vital role ‘public watchdog’ and imparting information of serious public concern
- The NBC is “targeting and intimidating independent media and voices”.