The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) has requested the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to call the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to order as it continues to display flagrant violation of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
Executive Secretary of BON, Dr Yemisi Bamigbose, also expressed his worry about the declining trust of stakeholders in the independence of the highly respected National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in recent times.
In a letter dated April 3, 2023 with the title “Urgent Need for Minister of Information and Culture to call NBC to order”, which was made available to The Guardian yesterday, Bamigbose said that the attitude of NBC towards broadcast stations in recent past is not only arbitrary but smacks of high-handedness, which is almost suffocating the broadcast media in the country.
He stated that in recent times, NBC has refused to follow its rules as stipulated in the code on investigation of infractions as well as imposition of fines on broadcast houses for alleged infractions.
Bamigbose alleged that NBC provides no opportunity for the broadcaster to see the complaints against it not to talk of allowing any form of explanation nor following due process at arriving at judgments.
The Executive Secretary observed that BON finds it very absurd that, NBC as a regulator, could on a petition from a campaign organisation of a political party, impose illegal fines on broadcast station without employing all avenues to investigate the complaint nor gave room for defence from the station so accused.
He said: “This was the situation of all multiple allegations of ‘severe’ infractions levied against Channels Television, Daar Communications, Arise TV and Daily Trust Television among many others. The recent case was the imposition of N5 million fine on Channels Television on alleged “severe” infraction committed during a live interview programme titled Politics Today, which featured Mr Datti Baba Ahmed, the Vice Presidential candidate of Labour Party and professionally anchored by Mr Seun Okinbaloye in its episode of Wednesday March 22, 2023.
“Section 14.3.1(a) (b) (c) (d) stipulates how to hand complaints. Section 15.3.1 (a) (b) (c) stipulates categories of fines and what constitute infractions in each category. NBC as usual imposed a fine of N5m for alleged “severe” infraction that was never substantiated nor stated the area of code violated by the station.”