The Media Rights Agenda, MRA and International Press Centre, IPC, have called on the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately reverse what it described as ‘’the hastily imposed fine’’ on Channels Television.
In a joint statement, condemning the N5million fine, they described it as an ‘arbitrariness taken too far’.
On Friday, the NBC announced a fine of N5 million on Channels Television, based on claims that the interview Channels Seun Okinbaloye had with the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Datti Ahmed on March 22, violated the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
In the interview, Datti was alleged to have opposed the swearing-in of the President Elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on May 29, saying it will be tantamount to the end of democracy.
The statement alleged that the NBC acted on a widely publicised petition by the Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, in which he demanded that the station be punished over the interview.
It said instead of slamming a fine immediately on Channels TV, the NBC should have allowed the station respond to the allegation.
According to the statement, in failing to do so, the NBC acted unfairly and unjustly as it based its decision on the claims of just one side.
It said the NBC exercised quasi-judicial powers injudiciously, by constituting itself to be the prosecutor and the judge and sometimes the accuser.
The statement urged the NBC from such act as it undermines its credibility and independence which could weaken the broadcast sector over time.
It therefore called on the commission to immediately reverse the fine’’ and give Channels TV the deserved opportunity to defend itself.
Writing by Annabel Nwachukwu