The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned ARISE TV station for airing alleged fake reports about the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
The station has aired a news article based on a fake press release dated 11 November 2022 purportedly signed by Festus Okoye, the Chairman of INEC Information and Voter Education, saying the electoral commission is working with the Northern Illinois District Court in the United States to determine the veracity of the allegation against the APC candidate. The APC candidates have been accused of money laundering and other offenses by several Nigerian leading publications
However, in a rebuttal by INEC on Saturday, the electoral umpire categorically denied the press release and all information contained in it. The commission also stated that it had no plans to investigate Tinubu for alleged drug trafficking.
“We wish to state categorically that the said Press Release did not emanate from the Commission nor is it pursuing the purported course of action. It is the handiwork of mischief makers and utterly fake,” INEC had said. The development forced the station to retract the statement and apologised to the APC candidate on Sunday.
However, in a statement signed Monday by NBC’s Director General, Balarabe Shehu, the broadcast station was compelled to pay the penalty within a period of two weeks.
“This (fake report by Arise TV) is a most unfortunate breach of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and a gross display of unprofessionalism and insensitivity by your organisation at this time of electioneering.
“Although your station has tendered an apology to the presidential candidate of APC after the professional glitch, the Commission expects broadcasters to ensure utmost professionalism as anything contrary may have grave consequences.
“Consequently, pursuant to Section 5.1.3 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Arise TV is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of 2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira). Note that the penalty shall be paid within two weeks of the receipt of this letter or sanction shall be graduated,” the statement read.