The Network for Best Practice and Integrity in Leadership (NEBPRIL) has condemned the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for placing a fine on Channels TV, African Independent Television (AIT) and Arise Television for “unprofessional coverage” of the ENDSARS protest.
The group said the fine by the commission was an attempt to “muzzle free press and cow the media from informing the public about the goings-on in the society and to chiefly hold the government accountable to the people”.
This was contained in a statement issued by Victor Afam Ogene, the group chairman and a former member of the house of representatives, on Tuesday.
While describing the action by the NBC as “an affront to the journalism profession”, Ogene asked the commission to withdraw the sanctions against the stations.
“The rationale for the sanctions, as announced by the NBC’s acting director-general, Professor Armstrong Idachaba, does not sound plausible to us and in fact, to every sane Nigerian who followed the protest via the media channels while it lasted,” he said.
“We, therefore, view it as an attempt to muzzle free press and cow the media from informing the public about the goings-on in the society and to chiefly hold the government accountable to the people.
“Recently, the world witnessed #Blacklivesmatter protests in the United States of America occasioned by the unlawful execution of a citizen, George Flyod, by a police officer.
“Despite replaying footage gotten from the different sites of the protests, oftentimes from participants of the various marches, no station was fined for discharging their constitutional mandates of informing the members of the public.
“If indeed, Professor Idachaba was to do anything noble, he would have commended the Nigerian media for ensuring all-sides, all-angles coverage of the #EndSARS protests rather than imposing the infamous sanctions on the three TV houses.
“To this end, NEBPRIL calls on NBC to immediately withdraw the fines and also desist from acts that will gag free press and free speech in Nigeria.”
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