SERAP, NGE tackles NBC over Channels Television ‘suspension’

April 27, 2021
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The National Broadcasting Commission on Monday ordered the stoppage of Politics Today on Channels Television.

In a letter to the Managing Director of Channels TV titled, ‘Inciting comments by proscribes group: Politics Today.’ The acting Director-general of NCC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, explained that the decision was taken flowing the interview the station had with the spokesperson of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Emma Powerful.

Reacting to this, Idachaba said that the IPOB leader altered several derogatory statements and inciting declarations on air without caution or reprimand by Channels TV.

Idachaba said, “He also made derogatory, false or misleading statements about the Nigerian Army. This is reprehensible; especially that IPOB remains a proscribed organisation as pronounced by the courts of the land. This much Channels TV ought to know and respect.”

The NBC DG referred to Section 5.4.3 which explained that, ‘In reporting conflict situations, the broadcaster shall perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality.’

Idachaba said, “For obviously breaching the above provisions of the law, your station remains liable to sanctions provided in Section 15 of the code which prescribes, among others – suspension of broadcast license and a fine of N5m.

“Please be reminded that your station owes the country the responsibility for a truly professional and ethical guided broadcast station especially at times of crisis. Please ensure an immediate stop to the programme.”

Reacting further to this order on Monday, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on threatened to sue the Federal Government if it failed to reverse its decision to suspend Politics Today.

In a statement by it’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, he urges the Federal Government to reverse the suspension within 48 hours or face legal action.

The statement read in part, “This is a new low in Nigeria’s protection of freedom of expression, and the ability of independent media to function in the country. The suspension of Channels Television is detrimental to media freedom, and access to information, and the Federal Government and NBC must immediately reverse the decision.”

The Nigerian Guild of Editors has also attacked the government over threat to Channels Television by the NBC.

The NGE in a statement by it’s president, Mustapha Isha, and secretary, Mary Atolagbe, affirm their stand stressing that they stand with Channels TV and would go any length to ensure that Press Freedom is guaranteed.

“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,” the statement partly reads.

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