The Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project, SERAP has kicked against the fines slammed on Channels Tv, Arise Tv and African Independent Television, AIT by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, who accused the media houses of covering the EndSARS protests.
In a statement issued on Monday, the SERAP said it condemns the illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the NBC as it also threatened to sue the Broadcasting commission if the fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.
According to SERAP, the action by NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices. The organization advised NBC to drop the fines and uphold the Nigerian constitution and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom.
SERAP noted that the fines are detrimental to freedom of expression and the media, and access to information in Nigeria. The organisation stressed that media freedom and media plurality are a central part of the effective exercise of freedom of expression and access to information.
It further stated that the media has a vital role to play as a public watchdog in imparting information of serious public concern and should not be inhibited or intimidated from playing that role. It advised NBC to stop targeting and intimidating independent media and voices.
SERAP said the ability to practise journalism free from undue interference, to cover peaceful protests and critical views are crucial to the exercise of many other rights and freedoms.