As election year draws near, the broadcast watchdog, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has called on licensed operators to guide their operational licences very well to avoid severe sanctions capable of throwing them out of business.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday during a press conference, the Director General of NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu took out time to remind broadcast stations to be careful and avoid falling prey to broadcasting campaign materials when it is not yet time for that.
He said “Permit me my dear colleagues, to also take your time to remind our broadcasters, that as we approach the electioneering period, stations must do everything professional to promote democracy”.
“Broadcasters are reminded that they have a duty to respect all extant laws related to the reportage and coverage of the electoral process. Don’t broadcast campaigns when the period for commencement of campaigns have not commenced. We are disturbed by the pattern of insensitive and inflammatory broadcasts emanating from some broadcast stations, especially in their coverage of national crises, like the Herdsmen/Farmer crises.
NBC noted that “We have observed that some stations deliberately and repeatedly air very inciting contents long after the events break. We have warned stations that they must follow the tenets of the Broadcasting Code”.
Kawu averred that “Having warned broadcasters, we shall follow up with appropriate sanctions should any station continue to violate the Broadcasting Code. Just yesterday, we released the sanctions profile for Nigerian broadcast stations for the 4th quarter of 2017. Many stations have been fined for hateful and inciting broadcast. (The list is already on our website). It is important to remind our presenters and so-called On-Air-Personalities (OAPs), that they must be professionally detached from the stories and reports of crises phenomena”.
“They are to offer platforms for Nigerians to present all the sides to issues in the news, not become the subjects of these stories, as they are wont to doing on many programs. This is especially true of political programs on broadcast stations.
According to him, “2018 will be a very busy year for us at the NBC. We will have a national conference on politics and hate speech, during which we hope to present the study we commissioned on Hate Speech. We will also present the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code”.