NBC Fines Media Houses for Covering #EndSARS Protests

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As the struggle for democracy gets fierce, the federal government is trying all it can to clampdown media activities. Recall that in August, the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, through the Minister of information, Lai Mohammed, raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million. Yesterday, media houses consisting of Arise TV, African Independent Television(AIT), and Channels TV were fined between N2 million and N3 million by the agency for covering the #EndSARS protests. This was disclosed in a report by AIT.

The National Broadcasting Commission has sanctioned Africa Independent Television, AIT, Arise TV and Channels for what it calls, a gross violation of the broadcast code, top of which is the use of unverifiable online video footages on the social media

This comes after a warning by NBC last week that broadcasters must perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy, and neutrality in reporting the protests.

Why does this matter?

The primary roles of the media in any society are informing, educating, and entertaining the masses hence this action by the government is an attempt to curtail all forms of opposition from the people and infringe on their freedom of expression as well as the ability of media houses to function independently. This is not the first of such an occurrence. Last year, the Senate considered two bills to curb the freedom of expression – the social media bill and hate speech bill. Both bills proposed to give authorities arbitrary powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media and make criticizing the government punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

Being the fourth arm of government, the media acts as a watchdog to the government and a violation of its ethics will deplete efforts towards nation-building.

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