The Federal Court in Abuja has nullified the power of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to impose a fine on broadcasters in Nigeria.
According to a statement on Wednesday by Idowu Adewale, Communications Officer of Media Rights Agenda, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia delivered the judgment in a suit filed by the agency against NBC over the N5 million fine each imposed on Trust Television and three other broadcasters for airing a documentary on banditry in Nigeria.
An Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Uche Amulu, had filed the suit on behalf of MRA.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia held that NBC, which is not a court of law, acted above its powers by imposing such fines.
The Judge also set aside the fines imposed by NBC on the broadcasters on August 3, 2022, saying the regulator’s action was wrong and unjustifiable in a democratic society.
However, she refused to grant the organization’s claim for N700,000 as costs incurred in prosecuting the action and other damages caused by NBC.
Recalls that the NBC on August 3, 2022, on Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV; TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV); Trust-TV Network Limited; and NTA Startimes Limited for broadcasting a documentary about the state of banditry and security in Zamfara State.
In February 2023, NBC also fined Arive Television and TVC N2 million for broadcasting what it termed as ‘hate speech and inflammatory comments’.