sanctions imposed on Channels Television by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).he Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and the opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have condemned the
NGE said it condemned in strong terms the threat issued to the television station by the NBC over an interview with the spokesperson of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mr. Emmanuel Powerful.
TheNewsGuru.com, TNG reports that Powerful had featured on Channels programme “Politics Today” on Sunday April 25, 2021 , where he allegedly made inciting statements.
The NBC in the letter ordered the immediate suspension of the programme.
NGE, in a statement said: “Press freedom is threatened when media houses are made to operate in an atmosphere of fear.
“The Guild stands with Channels and will go to any length to defend press freedom in the country.
“The body of editors believes that the NBC is guilty of double standards because stations that carried Sheikh Gumi’s parley with terrorists in their camps, were not sanctioned by the commission.
“The NBC should jettison the practice of issuing threats to broadcast stations over matters that could easily be dealt with through dialogue.
“Democracy will be meaningless in Nigeria if press freedom is eroded.”
SERAP on its part urged the Federal Government and NBC to immediately reverse the suspension and fine on the television station.
SERAP in a statement by its deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare said: “The suspension of Channels Television is unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, and without any legal basis whatsoever. The government and NBC should immediately lift the suspension and reverse the fine. We will pursue appropriate legal action if the arbitrary, unconstitutional and illegal suspension and fine are not reversed within 48 hours.”
SERAP said further: “This action by the government and NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices.
The government and NBC should lift the suspension and uphold the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s main opposition party, PDP in its submission on described as draconian, the suspension and fine of N5 million slammed by NBC on Channels Television.
The PDP said without prejudice to the issues raised against Channels Television, the reported hasty clamp down, without the benefit of caution, was suggestive of intolerance and high-handedness by the regulatory body.
“Our party is worried that such disposition could be counter-productive and heighten the already tensed situation in our nation at this critical time.
“The PDP therefore urges the NBC to review the punitive measure on the media house as well as scale up system-friendly measure that will ensure best practices in information dissemination in our country”, the party said.