$460,000 forfeiture judgment: NBC imposes N2m fine on Arise News for alleged breach of broadcasting code
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), yesterday, imposed a N2 million fine on Arise News for alleged violation of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
In a statement in Abuja, the commission noted that on Saturday November 12, 2022, it monitored the use of a press release by Arise News, purportedly signed by Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman (Information and Voter Education Committee), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to the NBC, the press release in question alleged that INEC was investigating the issue of forfeiture by a U.S. court against the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with a view to prosecuting him.
NBC used the opportunity to warn all broadcasters to adhere to provisions of the broadcasting code, saying it will not hesitate to sanction any offender.
Earlier, yesterday, the Presidential Campaign Council of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC PCC) had urged NBC to take punitive measures against Arise News and Channels TV.
It alleged the media outfits defamed and assassinated the character of Tinubu over the controversial $460,000 forfeiture judgment. This was contained in a petition addressed to NBC Director General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, which accused the organisations of breaching broadcast codes by their actions on the matter.
In the petition, APC PCC Special Adviser (Media, Communications and Public Affairs), Mr. Dele Alake, argued that the issue relating to Tinubu’s purported indictment had already been cleared in a correspondence between then Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, and the U.S. government.
The petition reads in part: “The U.S. Justice Department, in a letter dated February 4, 2003, issued by the Lagos Consulate of the United States Embassy, cleared our candidate.
“The letter was signed by Michael Bonner, the Consulate’s legal attaché.
“The campaign council was, therefore, surprised that certain media houses, such as Arise News and Channels TV, among others, went ahead to transmit and broadcast issues purportedly indicting our candidate, in violation of Section 3,3 I of the Code, which says:
“The broadcaster shall (a) ensure that any information given in a programme in whatever form is accurate.
“We believe that the operators of the stations, by their professional standing, should have access to research platforms to verify information before dishing it to the public.”
It adds: “These breaches attract a sanction of Class B, and we implore the NBC to invoke the aforementioned sections to penalise Arise TV and Channels TV for breach of the Broadcast Code.
Our presidential candidate was vilified and denigrated as an indicted offender and law breaker in the U.S. court case.
“We, hereby, request the NBC to sanction the offending stations in the name of justice and in protection of the rights of our candidate, as well as avoidance of future reoccurrence.”