Fake News: NBC Fines Arise TV N2m
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned Arise Television for airing fake news about the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
The television station is to pay N2,000,000.00 for breaching the broadcasting code.
The sanction was contained in a letter of November 13, 2022 and addressed to the management of the station.
The letter which was signed by the Director-General of the Commission noted that the station failed to comply with the broadcasting code for airing a statement purportedly signed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The commission noted that Arise TV committed the infraction, despite its recent sensitization programme for the broadcasters.
The station was fined, following a protest letter to the NBC by the Special Adviser, Media, Communications and Public Affairs, APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Mr. Dele Alake.
The station had used a statement purportedly signed by INEC National Commissioner Festus Okoye that Tinubu was been investigated.
INEC has since denied the report, tagging it fake news.
Although the television station had apologized, Alake said that the apology to Tinubu was not enough.
Alake, who spoke on a News Central Television, said: said: The station’s apology was not enough, adding: “Apology does not remove the injury to our candidate. It is flippant and does not sound genuine.”
He added: “When you make a mistake as fundamental as what Arise did, you must show contrition. You must genuinely and sincerely apologise. And your apology must be comprehensive and robust so that it can elicit acceptance. “Professionals like Arise should not play dirty politics; Arise is not contesting in this election”.
However, NBC did not take the grievous infraction lightly as it slammed a fine of N2,000,000.00 on the station in a letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Arise Global Media Limited and signed by it’s Director General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah.
The letter by the commission is titled: “BREACH OF THE NIGERIA BROADCASTING CODE: Sanction.
It reads: “The National Broadcasting Commission has imposed a penalty of N2, 000,000.00 (Two Million Naira, Only) on Arise TV, being sanction for the violations of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“On Saturday 12th November, 2022, the Commission monitored the use of a press release purportedly signed by Festus Okoye Esq, the National
Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee of Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, by Arise TV.
“The said Press Release alleged that INEC is investigating the issue of forfeiture by a US Court against the presidential Candidate of the APC, with a view to prosecution. The press release in reference has been tagged FAKE by INEC and the organization has also issued a counter press release to refute the story.
“The National Broadcasting Commission, between 19th and 26th of September, 2022, went round the country to sensitize broadcasters and remind them on the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act as we count down to 2023 general elections. The Commission also underscored the need for broadcasters to double check the veracity of any information, especially, those gotten from the social media
(User Generated Content UGC) which is, specifically, affirmed by Section 5.6.5. of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“Likewise, we draw attention to Section 5.0.1 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which provides that “news shall be presented as a truthful and accurate
account of an event or phenomenon… News requires the highest level of responsibility by practitioners in adhering to the most pristine of their professional ethics. These includes truthfulness, accuracy, fairness, objectivity, impartiality …”
“Furthermore, Section 5.1.3 of the Code says, “Fake News is prohibited”
“News is the most potent of all broadcasts and therefore, the editorial responsibility of the broadcaster is sacrosanct. Every news item must be verified.
“The Commission, along with stakeholders, have been working towards a free and fair general elections and enjoins broadcasters to continue to perform their duties professionally, in order to bring about a successful democratic process.
“Nevertheless, the Commission uses this opportunity to warn all broadcasters to adhere to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Regulations and other Extant Laws, as it will not hesitate to sanction any broadcaster that contravenes the above requirements.”
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