The Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), has described the N9 million fine imposed on Channels Television, Arise TV and African Independent Television (AIT), by the National Broadcasting Commission over their coverage of the #ENDSARS protests across Nigeria, as an assault on the media in the country.
The NUJ said what the NBC needed to do was to applaud the media organisations for covering the exercise despite the enormous risk the coverage posed to the reporters.
He urged the NBC to immediately withdraw the fines, as they were totally in tune with democratic ethos and norms.
This was contained in a press release titled “Unending assault on the Media”, issued by the NUJ President, Comrade Chris Isiguzo on Monday.
It could be recalled that the acting Director-General of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, had announced at a press conference in Abuja on Monday that the commission has fined Channels Television, Arise Television, and Africa Independent Television for what it termed as “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests.
The NUJ statement read : “The decision by industry regulator, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to penalise Arise Television, Channels Television and AIT over what it alleges as unprofessional coverage of the #EndSARS protests across the country further exposes the nation’s anti-democratic tendencies.
“Rather than trying to muzzle the media, we suggest that the NBC should applaud media coverage of the protests and the professionalism of Journalists who despite the enormous risks to their lives ensured a comprehensive coverage of the protests.
According to the NUJ, the media has been a viable tool for good governance and democracy in the country and as such should not be made a target for attacks.
The statement explained further that, actions such as the one taken by the NBC will only bring back the sad memories of the military rule, where actions are taken to undermine the media profession.
“We call for an end to this open contempt and disrespect for the Media by NBC and note that the fines imposed on the media houses is unnecessary, discriminatory, an attempt to discourage a free, independent media, and should be withdrawn immediately” the NUJ said.