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Reps Minority Caucus criticises NBC over intimidation of Channels TV, journalists

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The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives has issued a criticism of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over its alleged harassment of Channels Television and its presenters.

Ripples Nigeria had reported that NBC issued a notice of infraction against the management of Channels Television on Thursday.

This was over an interview granted by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on its news and current affairs programme, Sunrise Daily, with the two presenters: Chamberlain Usoh and Kayode Okikiolu.

Nonetheless, in its reaction spearheaded by its leader, Ndudi Elumelu, the Minority Caucus on Friday, noted that this move was a gag on the truth and press freedom in Nigeria.

The lawmakers’ statement was titled, “Notice of infraction issued by National Broadcasting Commission against Channels Television, an abuse of democracy, another move to stifle press freedom.”

It reads, “The assault on press freedom has reached a crescendo under this administration. Little wonder that Nigeria has emerged as the most dangerous place in West Africa for journalists, according to a survey released by a global media advocacy organisation, Reporters Without Borders, also known as Reporters Sans Frontieres, to mark the 2020 World Press Freedom Day.

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“As lawmakers, we hold that rather than try to muffle the media, the broadcast regulator should have directed the television station to avail the Federal Government the opportunity to refute with facts, the statements of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State during the Sunrise Daily programme, which it considered critical or misrepresentation of the government.

“The commandeering of Channels Television presenters to NBC’s headquarters in Abuja, the query of the television outfit, and the unrelenting intimidation of independent broadcast media outfits by the NBC is most inauspicious.”

“It is also high time the NBC eschewed partisanship and also understood that regulation does not presuppose the suppression of truth, but the promotion of it,” the caucus added.

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