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Don’t Compromise National Unity during Elections – NBC to Broadcasters

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has cautioned all broadcasters against compromising national unity while covering forthcoming general elections.

The Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, issued the warning in a statement, on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said: “The National Broadcasting Commission wishes to again, remind all broadcasters covering the forthcoming general elections to take note of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, and other relevant regulations guiding the broadcast of elections in Nigeria.

“The commission has observed, with deep concerns, how ethics and ethos have been thrown to the winds by politicians using broadcast media platforms.

“This is against the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which provides that in using materials for news and current affairs programs, the broadcaster shall avoid hate speech, inflammatory, derogatory, and divisive remarks or allusions.

“The commission notes that some stations now glamorize these situations on their platforms. NBC reiterates that such stations shall pay for their professional misdemeanor.”

Ilelah said for the avoidance of doubt, broadcasters were advised to note the sections of the Nigeria broadcasting code which provide that the broadcaster shall promote human dignity.

He added: “Therefore, hate speech is prohibited; Section 3.11.1 (a) states that all broadcasters should ensure that language or a scene likely to encourage or incite crime or lead to disorder, is not broadcast.

“Also, Section 3.11.1 (b) advises broadcasters to ensure that no program contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state.

“Similarly, section 5.4.1 (f) prohibits broadcasters from transmitting divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.”

Ilelah said that section 5.3.3 (g) urged broadcasters to ensure that a political broadcast was clearly identified as such, and not presented in a manner that would mislead the audience to believe that the program was of any other type.

“Also, section 5.3.3 (j) enjoins broadcasters to ensure that the broadcast of a partisan political campaign, jingle, announcement, and any form of partisan political party identification or symbol ends not later than 24 hours before polling day.

“The NBC ACT CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, also prescribes, in the Third Schedule 12(6) that “A Licensee shall be responsible for the content of the Station’s Broadcast.

“The commission enjoins all broadcasters to desist from using or allowing their platforms and facilities to be used by politicians, their supporters and or sympathizers, for the broadcast of contents that may lead to the breakdown of law and order,” Ilelah

He said that broadcasters were therefore expected to perform the role of peace agents by adhering to the principles of responsibility, accuracy, and neutrality.


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