The Nigerian National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed fines on three television stations over “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests.
TV stations including Channel Television, AIT, and Arise Tv are required to pay 3million naira ($7,800) each by the regulator.
According to the head of the commission, Armstrong Idachaba, the TV stations used unverified user-generated content from violent scenes caught on camera during the protests.
Armstrong noted that the footage “stimulated anger and heightened the violence”.
According to Mr. Armstrong, if the commission escalates the violation that emanated from the misuse of social media by broadcasters, sanction as per the provision of the law, NBC can therefore shut the station down.
He added that the offense committed by the station was capable of leading to a breakdown of law and order but the option to fine them will be a warning to the stations and others.
“In line with the provision of section 5.6.9 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which states that the broadcaster shall be held liable for any breach of the code emanation from the use of material from User-Generated Sources, the commission, therefore, sanctioned Arise TV, Channels TV and AIT in line with the provision of the broadcasting code,” the NBC’s statement read in part.
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The head of the commission condemned the attack on two media houses during the protests saying it was a “threat to press freedom”.
On previous occasions, the commission warned media houses not to “embarrass the government” in their protests coverage.