COVID-19 reportage: NBC fines three broadcast stations

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), yesterday, said it has slammed three broadcast stations in the country for violating the code for unverifiable claims and lack of professionalism in the broadcast of COVID-19.

This is even as the commission said a total number of 28 stations got the hammer in its first quarterly report for the year 2020.
The three erring stations are Breez FM, Akure (N250,000); Adaba FM, Akure (fined twice N500,000) and Albarika FM, Illorin (250,000).
The 28 stations, according to the NBC, received its hammer for violating areas of the NBC Code dealing with obscenity, political breaches, hate speech, unprofessionalism, unverifiable claims, advertisement, and technical.
NBC Acting Director-General, Prof Armstrong Idachaba, while briefing journalists in Abuja, said the sanctions were outcome of the first quarterly profile of broadcasting stations in the country.
“I wish to inform you that the commission has released the quarterly profile of broadcasting stations that contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code for the 1st Quarter, 2020. Twenty-Eight (28) broadcasting stations violated areas of the code dealing with obscenity, political breaches, hate speech, unprofessionalism, unverifiable claims, advertisement, and technical. All the stations have been, either queried or sanctioned accordingly to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“On the coverage and reportage of COVID-19, three broadcasting stations were specifically sanctioned for violating the code for unverifiable claims and lack of professionalism,” Idachaba said.
Idachaba however re-emphasised that all broadcasters must adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004.
In the area of digital switch over, Idachaba said the NBC is considering a new licence fee regime and broadcast signal distributor carriage fees for the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) operators.
“The new rates would affect National Free-View DTT; Regional Free-View DTT; Local Free-View DTT. The Committee expects all licensed DTT operators to commence payment of the new fees, which are lower than the fees in the analogue era,” Idachaba added.
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On the reform of the NBC, Idachaba recalled that consequent upon the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, the commission conducted a public presentation of the Amendment of the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to stakeholders.
“I am glad that the work is ready now, and the commission has published the provisions of the Amendment of the Code,” Idachaba stated.

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