A forum for media professionals, educators in journalism and cultural studies, African Council for Communication Education, ACCE has told the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC to immediately lift the sanction imposed on three media houses for covering the End SARS protest.
NBC on Monday slammed fines between two million and three million Naira on Arise TV, Channels and African Independent Television (AIT) for allegedly using unverifiable video footage from social media to cover the End SARS protests.
But the media forum in a statement signed by its National President, Prof. Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu said the imposition of fine should have been the last resort stressing that NBC could have set up an appropriate body to investigate the mainstream media coverage of the protests and ensuing violence
He added that the outcome of the investigative panel would form part of future guidelines for most mainstream media in the handling of related conflicts noting that the hasty imposition of fines had painted the regulatory body as both the accuser and the judge at the same time.
According to the statement, which reads in parts, “Our expectation is that NBC should use fines and other punitive measures as last resort. A proper investigation should precede any such punitive measures.
“There should be room for warning letters and cautions before such heavy sanctions that could be misconstrued as an attempt to muzzle the hard-earned freedom of the media.
“ACCE, therefore, calls on the NBC to immediately withdraw the sanctions already imposed on the three media firms and set up an appropriate body to investigate the mainstream media coverage of the END SARS protests and ensuing violence.
“The outcome of the investigative panel would definitely form part of future guidelines for most mainstream media in future handling of related conflicts.”
He however commended the mainstream media for their show of professionalism in the coverage of the END SARS protests and the violence that followed and condemned any media establishment that must have used unverified video footage in its coverage.