The International Press Centre has berated the National Broadcasting Commission over the N5m fine imposed on Nigeria Info, a radio state, as penalty for comments made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailaifa, on terrorism and insurgency in the country.
Mailaifa had said that a Northern governor was a commander of Boko Haram and the group was planning a civil war in the country.
The NBC management described the broadcast as “unprofessional” in a statement.
Condemning the fine on the radio station, the International Press Centre stated that the commission imposed the fine without any evidence whatsoever that the alleged statement had degraded any person or groups of persons, which would have amounted to hate speech.
Executive Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, in a statement by Olutoyin Ayoade, Communications Officer of International Press Centre, Lagos, also said that NBC gave the impression that it was the radio station that put the words in the mouth of the guest.
He also stated that the hefty fine represented an assault on media independence, freedom of expression and the right of citizens to know about issues of public interest.
“Even if a case of hate speech can be established, it is totally out of place in a democratic setting that NBC would be the one to accuse, prosecute and judge its own case against the station,” Arogundade added.
He demanded the immediate reversal of the decision, saying that was the only path of honour left for the NBC to follow having embarrassed itself with the unreasonable fine against the radio station.