The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned three major Nigerian broadcasters for using unverifiable video footage from social media to cover the End SARS protests being held in the country.
Fines between N2m (US$5,260) and N3m have been imposed on African Independent Television (AIT), Channels TV and Arise TV.
The End SARS movement is a series of protests against police brutality in Nigeria that is calling for the disbandment of the police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
The NBC had warned last week that broadcasters must perform the role of peace agent by adhering to the principles of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality in reporting the protests.
Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of the NBC, warned that further sanctions would be harsher.
Non-profit legal and advocacy organisation SERAP has condemned the fines imposed by the NBC and is demanding that it withdraw them or face legal action.
A post on the SERAP Twitter page said: “We condemn the illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV (3m each) over their coverage of the End SARS protest. We’ll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.”
BREAKING: We condemn the illegal fines of N9m reportedly imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission on Channels TV, AIT and Arise TV [N3m each] over their coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
We'll sue the NBC if the unconstitutional fines are not rescinded within 48 hours.
— SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) October 26, 2020