THE Coalition of Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) has condemned the N5 million fines imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV), NTA- Startimes Limited and Trust TV.
The NBC sanctioned the broadcasting platforms over a documentary by BBC Africa Eye titled ‘Bandits Warlords of Zamfara’, and another titled ‘Nigeria’s Banditry – The Inside Story’, which was aired on Trust TV.
In a statement released on Thursday, signed by the Programme Officer, Stephanie Adams-Douglas, the Coalition described NBC’s sanctions as a baseless and authoritarian move to stifle the press.
“In many cases, threats of violence and attacks against journalists are not properly investigated, yet the NBC thinks this fine is the best way to constrain the Nigerian media from carrying out its mandate.
“This continuous impunity emboldens the perpetrators of the crimes and at the same time has an undesirable discouraging effect and obstructs journalists and their work. However, Nigerian journalists have remained dogged in exposing corruption, irregularity and security that has affected millions of Nigerians. This kind of unwarranted sanctions against journalists impede the free flow of information,” the statement said.
CWPPF further called on the NBC to rescind its decision with immediate effect, stressing that, “We shall continue to oppose all forms of attacks on human rights and press freedom in Nigeria and across the world and hold the government, individuals and organizations accountable.”
The Coalition, which comprises 17 media organisations, reiterated its commitment towards preventing violence against media practitioners and ensuring that perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers face the law.