• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Nigeria’s broadcast regulator fines radio station N5m

Online radio

Nigeria’s broadcast industry regulator has fined Nigeria Info 99.3 FM Lagos the sum of N5 million for promoting what it called the “inciting views” of Obadiah Mailafia, a development economist and former deputy governor of the country’s central bank, on the Southern Kaduna crisis.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said the radio station violated several sections of the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code with the manner it handled the programme, “Morning Crossfire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am.
The Commission said the station provided its platform for the guest, Mailafia, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder”.

He had also said that during the COVID-induced lockdown, the terrorists were mobile and were distributing arms and ammunition across the country.

“We have met with some of their high commanders, they have sat down with us not once, not twice,” he had said. “They told us that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same.”
Mailafia was on Wednesday invited by the Department of State Services (DSS) for questioning following the comments.

In a statement on Thursday by Ekanem Antia, deputy director, public affairs, the NBC said Mailafia’s comments on the “Southern Kaduna Crisis” were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same is in violation of the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:
“No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;

“3.1.2 Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;

“3.3.1 (a) The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;

“3.3.3.1(b) The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;

“3.11.1(a) The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;

“3.11.1(b) No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;

“5.4.1(f) The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.”

The commission said the fine is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria “who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claim” to desist from such.

It reiterated that broadcasters hold licences in trust for the people. Therefore, no broadcast station should be used to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.