NBC bares its fangs, fines radio station N5m for ‘hate speech’

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For making ts platform available to a former deputy governor of CBN, Obadiah Mailafia to air his views on the activities of Boko Haram and other monstrous terrorists plaguing the nation, the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined Nigeria Info 99.3fm, N5 million.

The commission described Mailafia’s claims as “unverifiable and inciting”, and therefore deserves to be punished under the “Hate Speech” law.

The former CBN chief and presidential aspirant had, while speaking on the station, alleged that a northern state governor is a commander of the terror group, Boko Haram.

He said on the programme “How can a government say that it’s a result of revenge killings and you leave it there because its revenge killing. The body language of this administration, the body language of the state government shows clearly that they have a hand in the killings…

“We have met with some of the bandits, we have met with some of their high commanders, one of two who have repented; they have sat down with us, not once, not twice. They told us one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria”, he said.

The NBC is, however impressed with this, arguing that such allegations could “incite to crime and lead to public disorder”.

The full press statement from NBC management:

The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am. The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr. Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.

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 Obadiah’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 organisation, 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;

3.3.3.1(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.

This is 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 License 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.

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