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Nigerian Editors condemn N5m fine on Channels TV, says it’s a threat to press freedom

Ayodele Olalere

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has described as a threat to the freedom of the press the N5million fine imposed on Channels Television by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, following an interview with the spokesperson of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Emmanuel Powerful.

The body also condemned the suspension of the station’s programme ‘Politics Today’ by NBC.

It is recalled Powerful had featured on Channels programme, Politics Today on Sunday, April 25, 2021, during which allegedly made inciting statements.

Following the interview, NBC, in a letter, had ordered the immediate suspension of the programme.

However, while reacting NGE in a statement signed by it’s President, Mustapha Isa, and General Secretary, Mary Atolagbe said “it would not stand by and watch while regulatory agencies in the country threaten media houses and their operations.”

“The body of Editors reiterates that Press Freedom is threatened when media houses are made to operate in an atmosphere of fear. The Guild stands with Channels Television and will go to any length to defend Press Freedom in Nigeria.

The body of editors views the NBC letter to Channels Television as double standards, because stations that aired Sheikh Gumi’s parley with terrorists in their camps, were not sanctioned by the commission,” it stated.

It added: ” The NBC should jettison the N5m fines on Channels Television and the practice of issuing threats to broadcasting stations over matters that could easily be resolved through dialogue.Democracy will be meaningless in Nigeria if Press Freedom is eroded.