The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N500,000 on Daar Communications Limited, owners of Ray Power FM radio and Africa Independent Television (AIT) stations for allegedly breaching the provisions of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, the Director General of NBC stated that the decision was made as a result of the persistent and flagrant infringement of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code through the use of provocative, inflammatory and divisive comments by the anchors on the Raypower programme “Political platform”.
The sanction was handed down after the July 24, 2018 episode of the programme which was allegedly marked by sensational and heated expression of opinion by its anchors, who went on to make unproven and inciting allegations.
According to the statement issued by the NBC, the Commission had on May 2, 2017, August 15, 2017 and February 7, 2018 held meetings with staff of Daar Communications Group and on each occasion, the Director-General had expressed concern on the unprofessional manner anchor persons have been handling the programme. He had charged the team on all occasions to be fair and balanced in their reportage devoid of expression of personal opinions. He also at the last meeting on February 7, 2018 sounded a note of warning to Daar Communications Group to ensure compliance in order to avoid stiff sanctions.
The NBC Director General drew the attention of the general public to certain provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which Daar Communications Group breached:
Section 1.9.3: “A presenter/anchor shall not express his or her personal opinion in the programme.”
Section 5.2.7: “A broadcaster shall, in using political material for news, avoid taking inflammatory and divisive matter in its provocative form”.
Section 5.2.5: “Political broadcasts shall be in decent language”.
Section 3.1.3: “The broadcaster shall recognize expression as an agent of society, therefore, he shall not use his medium for any personal or sectional rights, privileges and needs of his own, proprietor, relatives, friends or supporters”.
Section 3.3.2: “A broadcaster shall acknowledge his or her own inherent biases and prejudices, and transparently rise above subjective mind-set.”
Section 3.3.3: “All sides to any issue of public interest shall be equitably presented to ensure fairness and balance.”
Section 4.5.1: ‘No individual or organization shall be treated in an unjust or unfair manner in any programme.”
Section 5.2.18: “While a broadcast producer may interact with politicians in the course of his professional duties, this shall not be such, as to lead to the belief, that he is either a member or sympathizer of any political party”
Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu reiterated that broadcasting stations must ensure that anchors of their programmes are well informed and properly trained on the ethics of the profession as well as the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code as the Commission would impose severe sanctions for any breach of the Broadcasting Code. The station is required to redeem the fine within two weeks from the date of receipt of the letter of fine.