The Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) a 48 hours ultimatum to rescind the N9m fine imposed on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV.
SERAP gave this ultimatum in a tweet posted on its Twitter handle, @SERAPNigeria on Monday.
“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 We’ll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours,” it said.
SERAP alleged that the action of NBC is another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices, adding that 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,” it opined.
SERAP noted that “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”.
It warned NBC to stop targeting and intimidating independent media and voices.
This is coming as the NBC imposed fines on the aforementioned stations for breaking the broadcasting code during the #EndSARS protests.
Recall that last week, the NBC had warned television and radio stations in the country against reporting the #EndSARS protests in a way that could embarrass the government or private individuals, or cause disaffection, incite panic or rift in the society.
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