The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended Channels Television for airing an IPOB interview. The NBC says the IPOB spokesperson made derogatory and misleading statements about the Nigerian Army.
According to the commission, airing the interview breached the broadcast code and as such, it has slammed a fine on the broadcasting company to the tune of N5 million.
According to details of the letter signed by the Acting Director-General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, the commission slammed the TV station for allowing a leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to make secessionist and inciting declarations on air without being cautioned or reprimanded.
NBC vs Channels
This latest suspension isn’t the first by the commission. The TV station has often been at the wrong end of the stick when it comes to broadcasting content in Nigeria.
In 2008, the station was suspended for broadcasting that then President Yar’Adua was contemplating resigning as president of Nigeria on account of his failing health, a development the government considered capable of leading to a breakdown of law and order in the country.
At the time, NBC accused the station of breach of the provisions of the National Broadcasting Commission Act No. 38 of 1992 (as amended) and the Nigeria Broadcast Code.
Most recently, NBC sanctioned the station and 2 others for allegedly violating broadcasting codes for broadcasting footages obtained on the Lekki shooting by soldiers from unverified and unauthenticated social media sources.
At the time, the Acting Director-General of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, threatened that the operating licenses of the affected stations will be suspended if they commit the same infraction again.
With the latest suspension, it appears that the DG of NBC has made good on its threat and has decided to use Channels as a scapegoat to control the content broadcasted by the media.
Unlike during the EndSARS protest where Nigerians rallied behind the TV Station it is unsure how Nigerians will react to this latest news.
The big question, however, is if the crackdown by NBC is really just or a case of a regulator bullying and imposing its ideals on an industry that should champion free speech.
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