The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) earlier today, sanctioned Arise TV for broadcasting a fake press release which suggested that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had commenced investigation into an alleged drug trafficking case in the United States against Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
NBC also fined the TV station of N2 million for the infraction, and demanded that the money be paid within two weeks.
Director-General of NBC, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, said the report breached broadcast code.
According to NBC, “The said Press Release alleged that INEC is investigating the use of forfeiture by a US Court against the Presidential Candidate of the APC, with a view to prosecution. The press Release in reference has been tagged FAKE by INEC and the organisation has issued a counter Press Release to refute the story.
“This is a most unfortunate breach of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and gross display of unprofessionalism and insensitivity by your organisation at this time of electioneering.”
The regulator noted that the TV station had tendered an apology to Tinubu, NBC however stated that it expected utmost professionalism from a broadcast station on issues that have grave consequences.
The Presidential Campaign Council of the APC had petitioned the NBC, asking for sanctions against Arise TV and Channels TV over their reports on Tinubu.
The campaign council, in a petition signed by the Special Adviser, Media, Communications and Public Affairs of the PCC, Dele Alake, which was addressed to the Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, said both television stations were accused of breaching broadcast codes with their actions.
According to the campaign council, the purported indictment against Tinubu as reported and discussed on Arise News and Channels TV had already been cleared in a correspondence between the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tafa Balogun, and the United States Government.
It further stated that continued broadcast of a non-existing “indictment” violated the NBC code.