By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja
A pro-democracy group, Concerned Nigerian Group, yesterday, kicked against National Broadcasting Commission’s N3 million fine on African Independent Television, Arise Television and Channels Television respectively over alleged unprofessional coverage of #EndSARS protest.
Reacting in a statement signed by the Convener, CNG, Deji Adeyanju, the group described the sanction as draconian, unwarranted and anti-democratic.
The statement also called on the Nigerian Union of Journalist, NUJ, to boycott Federal Government events for two weeks until the sanction and fine are reversed.
The statement reads in part, “Concerned Nigerians, a Human rights and pro-democracy group, has written to the Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC over the illegal and unconstitutional sanctions of Arise TV, AIT and Channels TV for covering the #EndSARS protests.
“The acting Director-General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, had announced at a press conference in Abuja that the agency has fined Arise Television, Africa Independent Television and Channels Television, for what he referred to as unprofessional coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
“The action of the DG to impose fines on the media platforms draconian, unwarranted and anti-democratic. The agency had at the peak of the #EndSARS agitation warned all television and radio stations against reporting the protests in a manner that could embarrass the government or private individuals or cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society.
“Your draconian warning to these media platforms and subsequent sanctions for carrying out their constitutionally guaranteed freedom to avail citizens real facts about the human rights violations by the security agents and insight into the trend of social development in the country is anti-democratic and must stop.”
According to the statement if the sanction on the affected media organizations would not be reversed, the group will write “to the US government, UK government and the European Union to place visa ban on the DG and his immediate family for suppressing press freedom in Nigeria.”