Civil society organisations and the International Press Centre have kicked against the sanction imposed on Arise and Channels television stations by the National Broadcasting Commission for publicising a fake statement credited to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The statement said INEC was in talks with the United States over drug trafficking allegations made against the Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Reacting, the NBC, in a statement signed by the Director General, Balarabe Ilelah, on Monday, said the broadcast of the fake statement was a display of unprofessionalism and fined the stations N2m each.
The Executive Director, Transition Monitoring Group, Auwal Rafsanjani, urged media houses to always verify news.
He, however, noted that sanctioning Arise TV was not fair since the media house had apologised.
The Director, International Press Centre, Lanre Arogundade, told Webteam@ipledege2nigeria that the NBC was acting as if it was representing a politician.
He said, “It wasn’t the NBC that discovered the fake news. It was the station on its own that came out and said something was wrong. In any case, having given the apology, the person involved in the news item, in this instance the presidential candidate of the APC, since he’s aggrieved, should go to court. There are legal options that could be employed.”
The President, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Mustapha Isa, said he was not aware of the fines.