Good News for Channels, AIT and Arise News



The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) fined Channels, Arise News and AIT for broadcasting the Lekki Toll gate incidence last Tuesday. The broadcast revealed how the #End SARS protesters were shot without filters or alterations. Many Nigerians have spoken against it. They complained about how unfair it is for these television stations to pay for saying the truth. A group of lawyers and SERAP called out NBC after the statement was released, and they threatened to sue NBC if the statement wasn't withdrawn. The stations are to pay N3million each. 

However, it is getting more obvious that the fine is constitutionally wrong as the stations haven't trespassed or broken any law. The good news is that they have not violated any law according to the constitution, and if they take the case to the court of law, they will be declared 'not guilty'. They can even choose to go further by suing NBC.

Senator Abaribe Enyinnaya, who happens to be the Senate Minority leader stated vividly that the National Broadcast Commission has no constitutional right to fine the stations. He also implored the commission to stop violating citizens' right of freedom and to desist from making up laws that doesn't exist in the commission.

His statement was released today (27-10-2020)  through Uchenna Awom, his Media Adviser. Abaribe disclosed that the commission is guilty of Section 39 of the 1991 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He concluded by advising the television stations to fight for their rights by pursuing the case legally in the court of law.

In his speech, he quoted Section 39  thus: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.”

He went further by quoting Section 39 (2) of the 1999 constitution:  “without prejudice to the generality of Subsection (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions”.

He opined that: “The sanction is illegal, provocative and clear case of willful abuse of power and a deliberate assault on the freedom of the press and of free speech. This time as precarious as we know calls for deep introspection and empathy for victims and their families. It is not a time for this kind of illegal actions by the agencies of government, as no law passed by the National Assembly nor the constitution gives the NBC powers to impose such sanctions.”

Source: This Day

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