Continental Broadcasting Services Limited, owners of Television Continental (TVC), has been fined the sum of two million naira by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for airing “hate speech and inflammatory comments”.
In a letter dated February 3 and signed by Balarabe Ilelah, NBC director-general, the commission said it monitored TVC’s “consistent” breach of the Nigeria broadcasting code regarding the coverage of activities for the general election.
The commission said “hate speech, inflammatory, derogatory and unfair comments” have been broadcast by the station, adding that the trend had become a house style on TVC.
The commission cited references to a media briefing by Festus Keyamo, the spokesperson of the All Progressives Council (APC) presidential campaign council, as well as comments by Bola Tinubu, APC presidential candidate.
“On 06/01/23 at 12:29PM, the Joint Media Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council made the following comments while briefing the media. Festus Keyamo: ‘…Obasanjo and Atiku run a criminal enterprise, an empire of fraud in Abuja. At the same time that Ahmed Bola Asiwaju was toiling hard, beautifully and meticulously to rebuild Lagos, 2 criminals were stealing money in Abuja at the time… they both stole from the SPV account at that time.’ Speaking about the whistleblower, Micheal Achimugu, he said, ‘We suspect that some goons of Atiku Abubakar are planning eliminate him and members of his family. In fact, my big brother FFK actualy hinted me about something like that yesterday’,” the letter reads.
“On 24/01/23 at 03:39PM, during the APC Presidential Rally in Abia State. The APC Presidential Candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu after telling the public to vote APC under the symbol of broom, he went on to make the following comment ‘…You know what you do with the rest of them? They are like lizards, cockroaches and mosquitoes. Just take the broom, wipe them off’.
“On 31/01/23 at 02:37pm, during the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally which held in Anambra State. The Party’s Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also made the following remarks: ‘When you hear Atiku use the word Muslim and say ‘Wallahi, Talahi, you know what is in his heart? ‘na lie I lie’. Anytime you hear Atiku say Wallahi Talahi, just reply him say, na lie you lie’.”
The NBC also made reference to a comment by Tinubu during the APC rally in Anambra, during which he referred to Peter Obi, presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), as a person who cannot keep promise.
The commission also accused TVC of not giving equal coverage to all political parties.
“On 10th October, 2022, your station started its news with 17 minutes of APC news and 1 minutes of PDP story with a video clip that did not play,” the commission added.
The NBC, therefore, asked TVC to pay a fine of N2 million within two weeks of the receipt of the letter.