IBAN Faults N5m Fine Imposed On Nigeria Info

A file photo of IBAN logo.

 

The Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) has condemned the fine of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

IBAN made the position known in a statement by its Chairman, Mr Guy Murray-Bruce, following an emergency meeting of its board members held on Monday to review the action of the regulatory agency.

It noted that while it was among the responsibilities of the NBC to regulate broadcasting in the country, the amount imposed on the radio station was excessive.

READ ALSO: NBC Fines Radio Station N5m For Unprofessional Broadcast

The association also faulted the amendments to the 6th broadcasting code, stressing that it was premature for the NBC to implement such without a universal buy-in to the modifications made.

It insisted that the agency cannot take up the responsibilities of an accuser, a judge, and an executioner when issues come up.

A file photo of the acting Director-General of NBC, Professor Armstrong Idachaba.

 

IBAN advised NBC to refer any alleged infraction of a broadcasting entity to the appropriate quarters for determination before sanctions were imposed.

It also proposed that stakeholders and management of the NBC should enter into another round of consultations and dialogue on the amendments to the 6th Broadcasting code as a way forward.

Read the full statement below:

The Board of the Independent Broadcasting Association Of Nigeria held an emergency board meeting on Monday 17th August, 2020 to deliberate on the issue of the recent Five Million Naira (N5m) fine imposed on one of our members (Nigeria Info FM) by the National Broadcasting Commission for allegedly promoting hate speech.

While we concede the right to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria to the NBC, we wish to point out some cogent issues that must not be ignored in this instant case.

The Five Million Naira (N5m) fine imposed is excessive, as it is a creation of the now disputed amendments to the 6th broadcasting code.

We feel that in the absence of a universal buy-in to the amendments of the code, it is premature for the management of the commission to implement any aspect of the disputed amendments.

We also believe that the omnibus authority the NBC has arrogated to itself of being the accuser, judge and executioner in these matters, flies in the face of the principle of fair hearing.

The commission’s determination of what amounts to hate speech ought to be verified by an independent body before sanctions are imposed.

As it stands now, the commission could on a whim label anything hate speech and then go ahead to impose a fine without the accused having the benefit of a fair hearing.

Information available to us points to the existence of the Nigerian Press Council with the mandate to uphold ethical and professional standards in the media, investigate complaints against the Press, monitor activities of the press, research on contemporary press development, investigate obstacles to the flow of information, protect the rights and privileges of journalists.

In our view, the Nigerian Press Council which is made up of representatives from the following institutions, The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria News Agency of Nigeria, The Federal Ministry of Information, and the general public is best suited to determine what might amount to a media infraction.

We, therefore, recommend that the NBC refer any alleged infraction of a broadcasting entity to the council for determination before sanctions are imposed.

We hereby respectfully call on the management of the NBC to hold off on imposing any sanctions until the above-stated issues are addressed.

Indeed, we recommend that stakeholders and the management of the NBC enter into another round of consultations and dialogue on the amendments to the 6th Broadcasting code as a way forward.

SIGNED

Guy Murray-Bruce

Chairman

Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria

NBC N5m Fine, ‘A Naked Attempt To Gag The Media’ – Atiku

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the fine of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, he asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.

The former vice president disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.

He argued that whether or not, what Mailafia during the programme aired on the radio station was a false claim, it was not the responsibility of the NBC to impose a sanction for a comment made by an individual.

Atiku stressed that the former CBN deputy governor had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents, adding that they were at liberty to prosecute him in court if they were not satisfied with his explanations.

He insisted that it was wrong to make a scapegoat of the media platform which provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

READ ALSO: NBC Fines Radio Station N5m For Unprofessional Broadcast

The former vice president also called on the NBC to review the hate speech prohibition code, saying the interpretation of same was offensive to the notion of free speech

Read the full statement by the former vice president below:

We are compelled to react to the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission code concerning infringement on hate speech and the operational style that media houses should employ to conform with the new regulation.

While there is no disputation over the fact that hate speech portends an existential threat to the enterprise of journalistic reporting and, in fact, inhibits the workings for a free society, it is absolutely repugnant that powers that be would instrumentalise the prevention of hate speech as a means of constricting free speech.

It is globally acknowledged that one of the core functions of the mass media is to inform the society on all ranges of issues, not even to the exclusion of national security issues.

The mass media has a role to play in ensuring that all possible shades of opinions are given access to the media platform.

In many advanced democracies the world over, criminals on even wanted lists of law enforcement agencies have reached out to the media to express their opinions about the crimes that they had perpetrated and the media space was not denied to them.

As a matter of fact, it seems somewhat contradictory that a country like ours, which is in the throes of national security skirmishes, would choose to shrink media access to critical information.

It is not known if any society had won the war against terrorism by placing a restriction to access to information, in the way the NBC had done.

In a particular reference to the penalty handed down to the operators of 99.3 FM Nigeria Info, we disagree wholeheartedly with the argument of the NBC that the interview that the station had with Dr Obadiah Mailafia constitutes any infringement or if at all it exposes the station to trading in hate speech.

Whether or not what Dr Mailafia said on the radio station was a false claim, it is outside of the objectives of a responsible regulatory framework to sanction a radio station for a comment an individual made, more so that the personality in question, Dr Obadiah, had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents.

If for any reason the authorities are not satisfied with his explanations, they are at liberty to prosecute him in court, but not to make a scapegoat of the media platform that provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.

The claim by the management of NBC that “this (the penalty) is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetorics and expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such”, is a naked attempt to gag the media in Nigeria.

We, therefore, call on the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to cause a review of the hate speech prohibition code because the very interpretation of same is offensive to the notion of free speech which is an essential ingredient of participatory democracy that Nigeria operates.

We also demand of the NBC to drop the penalty against the operators of 99.3 Nigeria Info FM on account of the fact that the penalty is at best ill-thought out.

Lastly, we want to refresh the memories of the generality of Nigerians that the Nigerian media has been in the frontline of the vanguard in the fight against military rule and restoration of a democratic order. In other words, it is very disappointing that under the watch of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the media is, yet again, being targeted for extermination.

Atiku Media Office

Abuja

13th August 2020

Mailafia: NBC Fines Radio Station N5m For Unprofessional Broadcast

A file photo of the acting Director-General of NBC, Professor Armstrong Idachaba.

 

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined a Lagos-based radio station – Nigeria Info 99.3 FM N5 million.

In a statement obtained by Channels Television on Thursday, the commission said the fine was imposed as a result of unprofessional broadcast by the media outfit.

It explained that Nigeria Info was not professional in the handling of its morning show aired between 8.30am and 9.00am on Monday.

NBC stated that the station provided its platform for its guest and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views,” saying such could lead to public disorder.

READ ALSO: FG Launches Amended Broadcasting Code, Says Hate Speech Fine Now N5m

It added that the action of the radio station was in violation of some sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code

According to the commission, the fine imposed on Nigeria Info will serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations are quick to provide platforms for “subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims”, to desist from such.

This comes a week after the Federal Government launched the reviewed sixth Broadcasting Code of the NBC.

(FILE) A former CBN Deputy Governor, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, speaks during an interview on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the government had raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

Read the full statement signed by the management of NBC below:

PRESS RELEASE

THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION FINES Nigeria Info 99.3FM FOR UNPROFESSIONAL BROADCAST

The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am.

The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.

The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that Broadcasters hold Licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no Broadcast Station should be used, to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.

Dr Mailafia Obadia’s comments on the “Southern Kaduna Crisis”, were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, is in violation of the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:

3.1.1           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.

Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6thedition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only.

This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide a platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.

The Commission wishes to put it on record that it will not hesitate to suspend the Broadcast Licence of broadcast stations that continue to breach the Code.

Stations are, by this statement, admonished to desist forthwith, from airing unwholesome content or be ready to face appropriate sanctions.

Signed:

MANAGEMENT