Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at a media briefing on the #EndSARS protest and its aftermaths.
According to him, those who erred have already paid their fines and they should count themselves lucky because NBC was indeed lenient.
He added that the stations involved know that they breached the Broadcast Code and this is a dangerous trend that must be curbed.
His words, “In the aftermath of the EndSARS crisis, the NBC fined three broadcast stations for using unverified and dangerous information from the social media.
“Commentators, many of whom didn’t even know why the NBC imposed the fine, rushed to allege an attempt to stifle free speech.
“Unknown to them, the stations themselves knew that they breached the Broadcast Code.
“It is sad to see the traditional media jettisoning the age-long gatekeeping process and instead rushing to rely on the free-wheeling social media, devoid of any gatekeeping, for news.”
“This is a dangerous trend that must be curbed, in the interest of media practitioners themselves, the profession and indeed the country.”
“Recall that an otherwise reputable broadcast media organisation had carried a fake report that the Ecumenical Centre in Abuja was on fire during the violence that followed the protest.
“Though the organisation in question later retracted the story, the kind of reprisal attack this could have sparked is better imagined.
“Also, another reputable broadcast media organisation featured a report that identified a maintenance worker atop a bank building overlooking the Lekki tollgate in Lagos as a sniper, leading to attacks that destroyed many of the bank’s branches.
“The organisations have not even been sanctioned for these terrible disinformation, yet rabble-rousers have latched on to the fines to make all sorts of baseless allegations.”
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