2015 polls: NBC descends on TV stations over hate broadcast
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) at the weekend came hard on television stations over hate broadcast saying some television stations in the country have jettison the broadcasting Code and other professional code of ethics and broadcasters were acting as judges or advocates for politicians.
At the one-day Broadcast Stakeholders’ Meeting held at the Conference Hall of NICON Luxury Hotel Abuja on Tuesday it was observed that: A lot of damage has been done to the integrity of broadcasting by the recent conduct of some broadcast stations in political broadcast, most of the political discourse are not issue based and were attacks on personalities rather than scrutiny of the tract records of Candidates in relation to their campaign promises. Denial of access to opposition by broadcast stations, misinformation from the media provokes negative reactions and misdirects the society with severe consequences on national security.
The communiqué issued at the one-day Broadcast Stakeholders’ Meeting reads: Political adverts must be backed by APCON approval. The broadcast stations to engage in more professional engagements with politicians, civil society organizations, institutions and agencies involved with elections. NBC should engage in careful and informed monitoring of the process to ensure that the conduct of each broadcaster is in public interest. NBC should act decisively against any broadcaster who breaches the Nigeria Broadcasting Code in political broadcast. NBC should engage in crisis management to avert the danger that negative broadcast is capable of causing. Broadcasters should resolve to build a truly democratic and united nation and disallow politicians from causing divisions. The role of the Media professionals at this point should promote, stabilize and add credibility to the democratic process by increasing citizen’s confidence, lower tension and legitimize the outcome. Broadcasters shall ensure the right of Citizens to quality, and credible information on candidates and other electoral processes.
It was also agreed that the sacred document, the Nigeria Broadcasting Code should be followed strictly in the interest of political development in Nigeria. The motion for the adoption of the communiqué was moved by Alhaji Lawal Yusuf Saulawa, Managing Director, Nagarta Radio Kaduna and seconded by Ms. Uche Ubitube of Anambra service, Awka.
The NBC Director General, Mr Emeka Mba told journalists in an interview in Abuja on Tuesday after the meeting with CEOs of broadcast organizations that the “commission had observed the breach by the two stations and letters have been written to them and a committee set up by the commission to look into the infraction would soon come up with appropriate sanctions which may be fine or suspension of license.” He confirmed that NBC received a lot of complaints and petitions across the country over the hate documentary and would follow due process in coming up with the sanctions.
Dr Tom Adaba, a veteran broadcaster and a former National Broadcasting Commission (NBC’s) Director General, shortly after the tea break of a crucial meeting between the NBC and the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of broadcast organizations on the forthcoming elections said that the sanction was late in coming as the two stations ought to have been punished long ago.
Earlier while giving his opening remarks, Mba had chastised CEOs of broadcast organizations for “mortgaging the broadcast industry.”He said some of them had jettisoned the Nigerian Broadcasting Codes and had resorted to unprofessional conducts.
“We should stop doing things that can bring about violence. We should stick to the Nigerian Broadcasting Codes. Of recent, we have been inundated with calls, petitions and complaints about the kind of hate adverts run by some the stations in the last one month. Henceforth we will hold any station that flouts the codes responsible. We must stop all hate messages from now; if you don’t stop we are going to act. We would follow due process to revoke the license of any erring station; I can guarantee you that”, the NBC DG said.
He also told the broadcasters that “politicians would do what they would do but you as broadcasters must not fall victims of their acts.”He said some programmes which were run by some unnamed stations had caused so much hatred that NBC needed to act fast. “We would act decisively against stations that attempt to spread hate messages”, he said.
While condemning the TV stations, Dr Adaba, said the stations had sowed the seeds of hatred with the documentary and only God could save the country from violence. He said: “We should tell ourselves the truth: some stations have thrown away the broadcast ethics. I was wondering where we are heading to. Don’t stop to ask: what if the candidate they were trying to run down wins. If we sow seed of hatred, we will reap nothing but violence. If we sow the seed of peace, definitely we will reap peace. But unfortunately, it is broadcasters who are supposed to be spreading peace message that are now spreading hate messages. What we have had is so bad that one keep wondering if we have codes at all. These stations should have been punished long ago. But I will urge them to retrace their steps.”
In a paper presented at the meeting, a renowned Mass Communication lecturer, Professor Umar Pate of the Bayero University Kano said Nigerians were losing confidence in the media and the practitioners needed to wake up to their responsibilities. He said people are usually worried when the media is not playing its functions. According to him, “watchdog is sick and we are all worried.” He said most Nigerians usually form their opinions on whom to vote for but some sections of the media are misleading them.
Pro Pate said because of the trust ordinary people have in the media, practitioners should not tell them lies. “ Media is instilling fears in Nigerians because of elections. They are speculating on whether elections will hold or not; this is making most Nigerians to be apprehensive. This is compounded by the social media.
Also, a renowned Mass Communication scholar Prof Ralph Akinfeleye of University of Lagos came down hard on the media for selling out to politicians.
Many other speakers at the meeting also observed that a lot of damage has been done to the integrity of broadcasting by the recent conduct of broadcast stations in political broadcast. They maintained that excessive speculations and rumours in coverage and reportage, is causing fear to Nigerians.
The Chairman of the event was Alh. Abubakar Jijiwa, the immediate past chairman of BON and Director General of the Voice of Nigeria. The event was attended by over 270 participants including Chief executives of broadcast stations across the country, the academia, broadcast veterans, staff of the NBC and the press.
Source: Daily Trust