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NBC fines ARISE TV, Channels, AIT over #EndSARS protest reportage

NBC fines ARISE TV, Channels, AIT over #EndSARS protest reportage
October 26
14:47 2020

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined Channels Television, ARISE Television and Africa Independent Television (AIT) for unprofessional coverage of the #EndSARS protests.

Armstrong Idachaba (pictured), acting director-general of the NBC, announced the fines at a press conference that held in Abuja on Monday.

The three stations were accused of airing “unverified images of alleged shooting”.

The NBC had earlier warned media houses in the country to cautiously feature user-generated content in their reports, saying the directive is aimed at preventing embarrassment to “individuals, organisations, government or cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society at large”.

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Idachaba said the sanction would serve as a 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,” Idachaba said.

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“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 has 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.

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“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 lead to the withdrawal of licence.”

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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 social media must not be patronised by the mainstream traditional media,” he said.

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

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

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

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