The Social Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) 48 hours to revoke the N9 million fine placed on the African Independent Television, Channels Television, and Arise TV for using unverified video footage in their coverage of the #ENDSARS protest.
Issuing this ultimatum in a statement made available on its official social media page, SERAP revealed that it will sue the NBC if the ‘unconstitutional’ fines were not rescinded.
#ENDSARS: SERAP Gives NBC 48 Hours To Revoke Fine Placed On AIT, Channels And Arise TV
Explaining that the fines were detrimental to the freedom of expression and the media, SERAP warned the NBC to stop intimidating independent media houses.
SERAP further pointed out that the ability to practice journalism free from undue interference is crucial to the exercise of many other rights and freedoms.
“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 We’ll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.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,” the statement read.
Ekohotblog had earlier reported that the NBC fined AIT, Channels Television, and Arise TV for using unverified social media video in their reportage of the #ENDSARS protest.