JUST IN: Court Restrains NBC From Imposing Fines on Broadcasters

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has nullified the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) power to impose fines on broadcast stations for alleged breaches of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

The court declared as null and void the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, authorising the NBA to impose fines.

The Media Rights Agenda (MRA), a human rights organisation, had filed a lawsuit against NBC after the Commission fined four media platforms a total of N20 million in August 2022 for airing documentaries about the security situation in Zamfara State. MRA argued that the NBC’s action overstepped its authority and violated the right to free speech.

The four media platforms are Multichoice Nigeria Limited (DSTV), TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV), Trust-TV Network Limited, and NTA Startimes Limited.

Giving judgment on Wednesday, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who presided over the case, agreed with MRA’s arguments, stating that the NBC “acted above its powers” by imposing fines. She noted that the Commission, not being a court of law, lacks the authority to adjudicate and punish alleged offences.

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