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NBC Fines Nigeria Info N5m Over Mailafia Interview

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined a radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, N5 million, over a recent comment made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailaifa.

In an interview during one of the station’s programmes, ‘Morning Cross Fire’, on Monday, Mailaifa had claimed that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. He was later invited by the Department of State Services (DSS) and was grilled for six hours in Jos, Plateau State, on Wednesday.

Reacting in a statement signed by its management on Thursday, the NBC condemned Nigeria Info for its “unprofessional conduct” when the station provided its platform for Mailaifa to “promote unverifiable and inciting views” that could lead to “public disorder.”

While noting that comments made by the former deputy governor of CBN were devoid of facts, the regulator warned that no broadcast station should be used to promote sectional interests at the expense of Nigerians.

The statement stated that Mailaifa’s comments were in contravention of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and therefore, fined the station a sum of N5 million, adding that the action is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria “who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetoric.”

NBC

“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 statement said.

“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 Obadia’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 organization, 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 Licence 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.”

Recall that the commission recently unveiled its Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos and raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

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