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For Airing Campaign Messages Hours To Election, NBC Slams N1m Fine on Ondo Govt-Owned Stations

The broadcast stations were fined N1million (N500,000 each) in separate letters sent to the heads of the stations.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined the Ondo State government-owned broadcasting stations for violating the broadcasting code.

The stations are Ondo State Ravio-Vision Corporation (OSRC) and the Orange 94.1FM, both based in the state capital, Akure. 

The broadcast stations were fined N1million (N500,000 each) , according to separate letters to the heads of the stations.

Both stations were fined for airing an interview with Clement Faboye, the embattled Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, where he was filmed "praise-singing" the government of Rotimi Akeredolu in areas of developmental projects.

The video interview generated wide condemnation in the camp of the opposition and the critics of Akeredolu's government.

In the video interview, which later went viral, Faboyede said: "On road construction, we have been saying it, the PDP in Ondo State has been saying it that we appreciate him on what he is doing on road construction. Let him finish it up. Let him complete his tenure. 

"We are not after his impeachment, intimidation and harassment. Our assembly members will support him; we will not intimidate him. By this time next year, we are already electioneering for governorship."

The interview of the PDP Chairman in Ondo State was aired a few hours to the house of assembly election in the state.

In seperate letters issued to the stations, Henry Asagba, Zonal Director of NBC in Benin, said they aired a campaign statement on March 8, 2019, a few hours to the state house of assembly election.

Asagba noted that the campaign statement was a breach of the NBC code.

The letter read: "Please recall our letters to you on stated date October 8, 2018, to attend NBC workshop on political broadcast and October 10, 2018, which was a reminder on the 2019 general election. In spite of these, monitoring reports revealed that your station breached the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code on political broadcast.

"On Friday March 8, 2019, between 3:59pm and 4:04pm, your station aired the Chairman of the PDP in Ondo State making campaign statements. This breaches sections 5.2.12 and 5.6.6 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which states that all partisan political broadcast campaign, jingles, announcement and the use of all forms of partisan political parties identifications or symbols on air shall end not later than twenty-four hours before polling day.

"In view of the above, your station has been fined the sum of five hundred thousand naira (500,000). You are requested to pay the fine within two (2) weeks from the date of receipt of the letter to avoid further sanction(s)."

The letter to the television arm of the broadcast station read: "On Friday, March 8, 2019, between 2:58pm and 4:31pm, your station aired the state chairman of the PDP, who on the screen appeared wearing a face cap with inscription 'ATIKU', an insignia of PDP against the code.

"In view of the above your station has been fined the sum of five hundred thousand naira (500,000)."