The National Broadcasting Commission has denied sanctioning Channels Television, Arise Television and African Independent Television over their coverage of the #EndSARS protest.
The NBC had in October slammed a fine of N3m each on the broadcast stations, claiming that the media stations covered the protest unethically and also used unverifiable video footages from social media in reporting the #EndSARS protests.
The action drew criticism from the public including rights group, who condemned the regulatory agency for trying to censor the media.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, 261 concerned Nigerians, civil society and media groups also dragged the NBC to court, querying the legality of the fine imposed by the NBC.
Responding to a letter by Concerned Nigerians on the fine on the broadcast stations, the NBC denied sanctioning the media houses for covering the protest.
It claimed that it fined the media houses for transmitting unverified and unauthenticated contents from social media.
The NBC, in a letter by George Obi, Head, Legal of the commission said, “The commission is always cautious of the constitutional rights of citizens and the press under the constitution as a universal human rights and does not interfere with these rights.
“However, the sanctions imposed by the commission on Channels TV, Arise and AIT contained in the press release by the commission dated October 26, 2020 was for transmitting unverified and unauthenticated social media sources in breach of Section 5.6.9 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and not for covering the #EndSARS protest as alleged.”
The Concerned Nigerians group stated that it will no longer tolerate the bullying of media organisations in the country.
“Next will be constant visa ban petitions. They have been warned. No long stories,” the group added in response to the claim by the NBC.