The International Press Centre, IPC has called on the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC to immediately reverse its imposition of a fine of five million naira on Nigeria Info 99.3FM over allegations of hate speck.
Mr. Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, IPC in a statement signed by Olutoyin Ayoade, IPC’s Communications Officer, condemned the actions of the NBC stating that it is out of place for the commission to accuse, prosecute and judge the case.
The NBC had cited the alleged unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am stating that “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”.
Mr. Arogundade explained that the NBC gave the impression that it was the Radio Station that put the words in the mouth of the guest, Dr. Mailafia Obadiah, and went on to impose a fine without any evidence whatsoever that the alleged statement had degraded any person or groups of persons, which would have amounted to hate speech.
Mr. Arogundade however noted that, “Even if a case of hate speech can be established, it is totally out of place in a democratic setting that NBC would be the one to accuse, prosecute and judge its own case against the station”.
Mr. Arogundade therefore said that the hefty fine represented an assault on media independence, freedom of expression and the right of citizens to know about issues of public interest.
He demanded the immediate reversal of the decision saying that was the only path of honour left for the NBC to follow having embarrassed itself with the unreasonable fine against the radio station.