National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has warned broadcast stations against unprofessional coverage of national emergencies and crises.
In an interview with Arise TV yesterday, Acting Director-General of the broadcast regulator, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba said many broadcast stations were reckless in the coverage of the Lekki Toll Gate shootings of Tuesday, October 20.
Idachaba noted that all broadcast stations must endeavour to verify the authenticity of videos shared on social media before broadcasting them to avoid spreading fake news and misinformation.
“The point basically is that at times of national emergency and crisis, there must be extreme care and restraint,” the NBC boss stated.
The NBC recently fined Arise TV, Channels Television and AIT N3 million each for alleged “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests.
The acting NBC boss revealed that some of the sanctioned media houses have complied while some have not, warning that non-compliance might force the commission to increase the fine.
“Stations that have been fined have already responded. Some of them have actually paid their fines.
“Those who have not paid their fines are in further breach of the provisions of the law because what the law clearly says is that when you are sanctioned and you do not respond in time, the regulator has the right to upgrade the sanction and it is not a pleasing option. I hope that the regulator does not get there,” he warned.
Idachaba reiterated that the fine would not be waived for any station.
He added that “the matter can be only resolved when stations pay the fines. But beyond payment of fines, I will be more gratified if we have a robust free environment, one that the operator exercises his editorial liberty but not to the point of becoming the aggravator and the stimulant to mass destruction of property.”