The International Press Center, IPC, has rejected move by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction Channels Television, for interviewing the spokesman of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, during the broadcast of its ‘Politics Today’ Programme on Sunday April 25, 2021, despite the fact that the station was merely doing a follow-up on the story which had broken earlier.
IPC, said that Channels Television was actually acting in the public and national interest by seeking to question the spokesperson of an organisation whose existence, despite proscription, the government especially through the Nigerian army has continuously recognised and which in the past couple of weeks has been accused of being responsible for reprehensible acts of serial killing of policemen and arson in Imo State and other parts of the South-east.
“It should be noted that in the course of the said interview, the anchor Mr. Seun Okinbaloye, did refer to IPOB as a proscribed organisation, just like many other media outlets that had previously reported the tactical assault on its operational Headquarters.
The decision of the Nigerian media to report the alleged activities of IPOB is in full cognisance of the fact that there is no law of the Nigerian Federation that forbids the media from reporting the activities or alleged activities of a proscribed organisation.
In the circumstance therefore, we find the NBC’s letter of April 26, 2021, addressed to the Managing Director of Channels Television, and titled ‘INCITING COMMENTS BY PROSCRIBED GROUP: POLITICS TODAY’ as unwarranted and highly intimidatory.” said IPC in a statement made available to Oriental News Nigeria.
By threatening that the station “remains liable to sanctions provided in section 15 of the code which prescribes among others – suspension of broadcast license and the fine of 5million’ and ordering the suspension of the politics today Programme, the NBC has embarked on another round of violation of press freedom in Nigeria.
The NBC has again violently violated the rules of natural justice and fair hearing by constituting itself into the accused, the prosecutor, and the judge in the case between it and Channels Television over the interview in contention.
“We hereby call on NBC to stop threading this anti press freedom path by withdrawing its letter to Channels Television.”‘added the statement.