Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The management of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) says that it has fined the Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos the sum of N5 million for providing its platform to a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Obadiah Mailafia, to promote unverifiable and inciting views.
The NBC stated that the unprofessional conduct of the Nigeria Info 99.3FM was in the handling of the programme, ‘Morning Cross Fire,’ aired on August 10, between 8.30 am and 9.00 am.
The views by Mailafia which were centred on the security situation in Southern Kaduna, according to the NBC, could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.
Mailafia had, while appearing on the Nigeria Info 99.3FM programme, claimed that a governor of northern extraction was leading the Boko Haram insurgents.
Following the claim, Mailafia was subsequently invited by the Department of State Service (DSS) who grilled him for several hours on Wednesday before he was eventually released.
Mailafia’s remarks also prompted the Northern Governors’ Forum to call for a probe into the allegation which it said, was weighty.
The NBC said: ‘The commission, again, wishes to reiterate that broadcasters hold licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no broadcast station should be used to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.
‘Dr Mailafia Obadia’s comments on the ‘Southern Kaduna Crisis,’ were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, is in violation of the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:
‘3.1.1 No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.
‘3.1.2 Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited.
‘3.3.1 (a) The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate.
‘220.127.116.11(b) The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance.
‘3.11.1(a) The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast.
‘3.11.1(b) No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
‘5.4.1(f) The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
‘Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only,’ the NBC said.
The NBC further said the fine was expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims to desist from such.
‘The commission wishes to put it on record that it will not hesitate to suspend the broadcast licence of broadcast stations that continue to breach the code.
‘Stations are, by this statement, admonished to desist forthwith, from airing unwholesome content, or be ready to face appropriate sanctions,’ the NBC also said.