NATIONAL Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a penalty of N2million on Arise TV News for alleged violations of Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
Director-General of NBC, Malam Shehu Illelah, made this known in a statement on Monday,in Abuja. He said:
“On Saturday, Nov. 12, the commission monitored the use of a press release purportedly signed by Festus Okoye, a National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), by Arise TV.
“The said press release alleged that INEC was investigating the issue of forfeiture by a United States Court against the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), with a view to prosecution.
“The press release in reference has been tagged fake by INEC and the organisation has also issued a counter press release to refute the story.”
Illelah recalled that NBC, between September 19 and 26, 2022, went round the country to sensitise broadcasters and reminded them of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act as the country counts down to 2023 General Elections.
He said the NBC also underscored the need for broadcasters to double check the veracity of any information, especially those from the social media (User Generated Content UGC) which is, specifically affirmed by Section 5.6.5. of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“Likewise, we draw attention to section 5.0.1 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which provides that news shall be presented as a truthful and accurate account of an event or phenomenon.
“News requires the highest level of responsibility by practitioners in adhering to the most pristine of their professional ethics. These include truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, objectivity, and impartiality.
“Furthermore, section 5.1.3 of the code says fake news is prohibited. News is the most potent of all broadcasts and therefore, the editorial responsibility of the broadcaster is sacrosanct. Every news item must be verified.”
Illelah said that the commission, along with stakeholders, have been working towards a free and fair 2023 general elections and enjoined broadcasters to continue to perform their duties professionally, in order to bring about a successful democratic process.
“Nevertheless, the commission uses this opportunity to warn all broadcasters to adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, regulations and other extant laws, as it will not hesitate to sanction any broadcaster that contravenes the above requirements”, Illelah said.