The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, revoked the provision of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code that permits the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to impose fines on broadcast stations for alleged breaches of the Code.
This particular broadcasting code was declared nullified by the court after Uche Amulu, an Abuja-based human rights lawyer, on behalf of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), initiated the suit against NBC.
The case was initiated following NBC’s imposition of fines in 2022, where N5 million was demanded each on a television station and three pay TV platforms: Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV; TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV); Trust-TV Network Limited; and NTA Startimes Limited for allegedly undermining Nigeria’s national security by broadcasting documentaries on banditry in Nigeria.
Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia held that NBC, not being a court of law, acted above its powers by imposing such fines and ruled that administrative and regulatory bodies could not exercise judicial powers.
Meanwhile, the judge applauded MRA for legally challenging the actions of the commission and set aside the fines imposed by NBC on August 3, 2022, for broadcasting the state of Zamfara banditry and security as a documentary, saying the regulator’s action was wrong and unjustifiable in a democratic society.
Also, after the final adjudication of the suit, the Judge issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining NBC or anyone acting on its behalf from further imposing any fine on any media platform or broadcast station in Nigeria for any alleged offence committed under the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.