NBC charges broadcasters on sensitive national issues

#TrackNigeria: National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has advised all broadcast stations in the country to exercise restraint in the treatment of sensitive issues that could threaten
the unity and stability of Nigeria.

The advice is contained in a statement on Saturday by NBC’s Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Mr Antia Ekanem.

Ekanem explained that the commission was reacting to the media controversy over the license granted to the National Commission for Nomadic Education for the establishment of a radio station to operate on the AM band.

He said that the National Commission for Nomadic Education duly applied for a broadcast license in furtherance of its objectives to develop and maintain nomadic education outreach programmes, including electronically mediated ones.

“The letter of provisional approval dated September 28th, 2018, was issued to the National Commission for Nomadic Education.

“The duration of the license is from October 8th, 2018 to October 8th, 2023.

“The station’s programmes, which shall be purely educational, are designed to cater for the interest of migrant fishermen, herders, hunters, farmers, and migrants.

“Consequently, it is a misrepresentation for any person, or organisation to imply that the licensed station was just for a particular group.

“The commission wishes to state that similar educational broadcast licences were issued to institutions of higher learning and other Governmental institutions with comparable needs, such as the Armed Forces of Nigeria, The Federal Road safety Commission, and related institutions.”

He enjoined broadcasting stations to take special note of the following provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which emphasize
peace and national integration.

“There is section 3.1.2, which requires that materials likely to encourage or incite to the commission of a crime or lead to public disorder shall not be broadcast.

“Similarly section 5.5.5 of the Code prescribes that a station shall not broadcast divisive rhetoric that threatens and compromises the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.”

He said that while upholding professionalism and observing global best practices, stations are further advised to treat potentially divisive issues with tact and sensitivity.

The assistant director said that the commission enjoined broadcasting stations to be professional, and take guidance from the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, at all times.

He also reminded all broadcasters to be mindful of their social responsibility to promote the well-being and peaceful coexistence of the various groups in Nigeria in keeping with the objectives of broadcasting.

He, therefore, reiterated that broadcast organisations are expected to exercise freedom of expression as agents of society, not for any personal or sectional rights, privileges and needs of their own or of their proprietors, relatives, rights or supporters as highlighted in the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. (NAN)

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