Nigeria: Uproar As Regulator Sanctions TV Stations For Protests Coverage
Channels, AIT and Arise TV - three of the most prominent privately-owned broadcasting outfits in Nigeria - has been sanctioned by the regulator of the Nigerian broadcast industry, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for "unprofessional conduct" and "using unverifiable footage" in their coverage of the #EndSARS Protests.
Announcing the sanctions that included fines of up to three million Naira (US$ 9,000) each, Dr Armstrong Idachaba, director-general of the NBC, said that three stations did not exhibit professionalism in reporting the #EndSARS protest and caution that all broadcasters regardless of affiliations and affinities must follow the tenets of the Nigerian broadcasting code.
The action of the NBC has, however, triggered uproar within the country's civil rights organisations with many describing it as over-reach and a 'blatant curb on freedom of expression and media independence.
One such organisation is the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP). And in a statement it issued, SERAP asks the NBC to "targeting and intimidating independent media and voices" reminding the regulator of imperative to protect the role of the media as 'public watchdog' that imparts information of public interest to the populace.