MRA, IPC condemn NBC’s sanctions over #ENDSARS coverage



Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the International Press Centre (IPC) have condemned the sanctioning of three television stations by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the coverage of the #ENDSARS protests, describing the Commission’s action as an outrageous violation of the Constitution and basic principles of fair hearing which cannot be allowed to stand.

The two organizations accused the NBC of turning itself into a “kangaroo court” and called on it to immediately reverse its decision sanctioning the three stations in order to save itself the embarrassment that both the Commission and the country would suffer locally and internationally as a result of its action.
 
The MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, said a situation where the NBC, which is so glaringly lacking in independence and subject to the direct control of political authorities,  wrote the Nigeria Broadcasting Code creating the offences for which the stations were sanctioned and was the complainant in the allegations against the stations, prosecuted them and sat in judgment on the matter without even giving the stations any opportunity to defend themselves against the charges while also imposing a fine of N3 million on each of them, which it intends to collect and pocket, is offensive to any notion of fair hearing, equity or justice.”
 
According to him, every Nigerian ought to be scandalized by this obscene violation of a principle that is sacrosanct not only under our Constitution but under every regional and international human rights instrument to which Nigeria is a state party.  

“It portrays Nigeria as crude and primitive and will no doubt bring the country to ridicule.” He pledged that his organization would take legal action to challenge the NBC’s action.
 
Also, Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said the NBC has in this matter again constituted itself into the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge in its own case. It is indeed strange that the fines were arbitrarily imposed without giving the concerned media outlets the option of defending the allegations. All this constitutes an affront on rule of law
 
Mr. Arogundade said IPC would team up with MRA to use the instrumentality of the law to challenge the absurdities perpetrated by NBC. 
 

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