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NBC warns stations on political broadcast

NATIONAL Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned all electronic media to desist from airing materials that do not comply with any provision of the code, saying sanctions await defaulters during the ongoing political season.
In a statement signed by the Director-General, Mr. Emeka Mba, the federal agency recalled that “The National Broadcasting Commission has been monitoring the activities of broadcasting stations and notes that since the advent of the political campaigns, stations have been performing their sacred duty of informing and educating the Nigerian people; conveying the messages of the politicians to the people.  Again, that is as it should be.  That is their duty as the lubricants of the democratic process.
While appreciating that the role of radio and television has gone beyond just reporting its findings on the surveillance of the environment; NBC noted that “broadcasting has evolved into a critical factor in promoting social, cultural, and political objectives”.
“That is why the Nigeria Broadcasting Code is at pains to spell out the political objectives of broadcasting, which provide the perspectives and guidelines issued to broadcasters for the coverage of elections.
“The Commission however notes that in carrying out their responsibility, some stations have been operating outside the provisions of the Code in a manner that could become counter-productive to the national objective of peaceful, free and fair elections.
Continuing, the Commission noted that some stations have been broadcasting programmes and adverts that violate the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code with respect to Decency, Truthfulness and Fairness.
Mba said “We have already written to those stations to desist and are still considering further sanctions in line with the provisions of the law”.
NBC therefore warned all broadcasters to adhere to the provisions of the Code, especially Section 5.2 on Political Broadcasts, and section 7.6 on Political Advertising.  We wish to draw the attention of broadcasters particularly to sections 5.2.7 and 5.2.8, which stipulate, “A broadcaster shall, in using political material for news, avoid taking inflammatory and divisive matter in its provocative form.”  And, “in adherence to the principles of pluralism, equal airtime shall be provided to all political parties or views, with particular regard to the amount of time and belt, during political campaign periods”.
The commission added that it is joining the rest of the nation in working towards violence-free pre-election and post-election seasons, as well as free and fair elections; and we believe that broadcasting stations can only contribute to this when all “programmes adhere to the general principles of legality, decency, and truthfulness”.

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