The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has ordered television and radio stations not to disclose “details” of the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in daily Newspaper Reviews.
It has become a tradition for broadcast stations in Nigeria to review Newspaper headlines before their breakfast shows.
But the NBC has asked them to ignore some of the headlines on security challenges in the country.
In a letter titled, “Newspaper Reviews and Current Affairs Programs: A Need for Caution”, Balaraba Ilelah, Director-General of the Commission, sought caution from the broadcast stations.
Francisca Aiyetan, Director, Broadcast Monitoring, signed the letter on behalf of the DG.
The letter reads, “Headlines of most Newspapers on a daily basis are replete with security topics. While bringing information on security to the doorsteps of Nigerians is a necessity, there is a need for caution as too many details may have an adverse implication on the efforts of our security officials who are duty-bound to deal with the insurgency.
“The Commission, therefore, order broadcasters to collaborate with the government in dealing with the security challenges by; “Not glamourising the nefarious activities of insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, bandits etc.
“Advising guests and/or analysts on programs not to polarise the citizenry with divisive rhetoric, in driving home their point. Not giving details of either the security issues or victims of these security challenges so as not to jeopardise the efforts of the Nigerian soldiers and other security agents.”
The Commission also directed the broadcast stations to be guided by provisions of Sections 5.4.1(f) and 5.4.3 of the NBC Code which states thus:
“The broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the divisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
“In reporting conflict situations, the broadcaster shall perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality.”
Last month, the NBC ordered all broadcast stations to go off Twitter after the ban by the Federal Government.
The government had sanctioned Twitter for allegedly undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Critics of the Buhari administration have alleged that there is an attempt to muzzle the media.