The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a fine of N5 million on Channels Television for “breaking the broadcasting” law in a programme with Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate.
This is contained in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of the television station and dated March 27. The letter was exclusively obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
The letter, with the title: “Broadcast of an Inciting Interview, A Sanction”, was signed by Balarabe Ilelah, the commission’s Director-General.
It read in part:” The NBC monitored the broadcast of a live interview of the running mate of the Labour Party Vice presidential candidate, Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed, by the anchor of Politics Today, Seun Okibaloye, on Wednesday, March 22.
“Dr Baba-Ahmed said it will be unconstitutional to swear in an elected president on May 29, 2023, because of election irregularities,” Ilelah said in the letter.
He noted that the broadcast was volatile and capable of inciting public disorder and therefore violated some sections of the broadcasting code.
This, according to him, includes the section that said no broadcast shall encourage, or incite, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.
Ilelah added that according to the broadcasting code, broadcasters shall ensure that no programme contained anything which amounted to subversion of constituted authority.
He recalled that the NBC had engaged Channels Television severally to consider public interest before any programme is broadcast.
This, he said, was to ensure that the country was not plunged into anarchy.
“Consequently, on the following infractions, Channels Television is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N5,000,000 (five million naira) only in the first instance,” he said.
He added that any further infraction by the television station would attract higher sanctions.
“You are advised to pay within two weeks from the day of receipt of this letter or the penalty will be graduated,” the NBC Director-General said.