The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned three Arise TV, African Independent Television (AIT) and Channels TV for allegedly escalating violence across the nation following the Lekki toll gate #ENDSARS shooting.
The broadcasting regulator fined the three television stations between N2million and N3million on the accusation of airing unverified images of the alleged shooting at the protest, which began on a peaceful but later became violence, wherein many states recorded looting of public and private properties.
According to the acting DG of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, “The National Broadcasting Commission is concerned about the professional misdemeanour of some broadcasting stations in the past couple of days. Whereas it can be said that the Nigerian Media especially the Broadcast media discharged its role professionally and most patriotic in confronting the challenge of #Covid-19 Crisis, the same cannot be said of the coverage of the recent #Endsars campaign.
He noted that monitoring reports available to the Commission indicated that indeed at the early stages of the conflict, the broadcast industry largely gave a fair and balanced coverage to the issues, but trend became completely reversed when violence, wonton destruction and looting were added to the dimensions.
He further said, the TV stations in their eagerness to break News and be Pace Setters stations engaged in the very unprofessional attitude of speculative and unverifiable broadcast.
” In spite of the following provisions the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which provides as follows;
5.6.1: In Contemporary times, the impact of modern technology has significantly enabled Citizen’s contribution to journalism, which are beneficial to broadcasting. In this genre of citizens reportage, deploys such facilities as “User Generated Content” UGC, providing instantaneous eye-witness Account of events. Such Technological benefits place further demand on the broadcaster to be more cautious of its editorial responsibility.
5.6.2: News Materials sent in by Public must be vetted by broadcaster who has editorial responsibility.
5.6.3 The Broadcaster shall be mindful of materials that may embarrass individuals or organisations or cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the Society, in the usage of UGC.
“Channels Television, Arise TV and AIT especially continued to transmit Footages obtained from unverified and unauthenticated Social media sources. No doubt these pictures stimulated anger and heightened the violence that was witnessed during the crisis,” explained Idachaba
He also said it is believe that the whole country has now seen why the spurious and recklessness on the Social Media must not be patronised by the main stream traditional media. Broadcasters who therefore dogmatically patronise the Social Media must bury their heads in shame.
The acting DG condemned in total terms the assault and intimidation of media houses. The burning of TVC Lagos, the brief closure of Channels TV Lagos and said they are worrisome indicators of mob treat to the freedom of the press as no nation can grow when the citizens muzzle and intimidate its Press.
‘ We are at the stage of our nation’s history when our broadcasters have a crucial responsibility for responsive and professional broadcasting. By picking unverified, unsubstantiated Social media sources and repeating the narratives, our broadcasters have shown crass lack of professionalism and a disposition to be escalators of conflict and more seriously a threat to Nigeria.
“In line with the provisions of section 5.6.9 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which states that; “the broadcaster shall be held liable for any breach of the Code emanation from the use of material from User Generated Sources”. The Commission has therefore sanctioned Arise TV, Channels TV and AIT in line with the provisions of the broadcasting Code. This is to serve as deterrent to broadcasters who deliberately ignore to verify stories before they broadcast.”
He calls on broadcasters to always ensure the veracity and authenticity of UGC and Social media Sources when then use them.
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