The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), yesterday warned broadcast stations in the country against airing fake news and hate speeches, noting that it would apply sanction to erring stations.
Director General of the commission, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, during a press briefing in Abuja, disclosed that NBC had concluded plans to sanction some television stations in the country over violation of NBC code.
The affected stations, according to Kawu, include the African Independent Television (AIT), Channels Television, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Television Continental (TVC) News.
“So, based on the forgoing, the four main channels that have been broadcasting: AIT, TVC News, Channels TV and NTA, were capable and contravening the provisions of the Code on Political Broadcast in line with the provisions of Sections 524 of the Code,” he said.
According to Kawu, letters have been sent to the affected organisations notifying them of the sanction against them.
He noted that there were new entries into the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, adding that the sixth edition of the code, contained very strong entries about hate and dangerous speech and the consequence of broadcasting in the country. Kawu, however, explained that efforts of the NBC to sanitise the media space paid off after sanctions were meted out to the Ekiti state Broadcasting station.
He said; “In Ekiti state, there were issues that led to the closing down of the state broadcasting station. What happened was that in Osun State, maybe as a result of what happened in Ekiti state, there was much fairer coverage by the state broadcaster by allowing the different political platforms to have very fair representation in their output.
“We felt that justified the work we did. Starting from Anambra then we moved to Ekiti, Osun states. With the commencement of the 2019 general electioneering campaigns, the national stations have become agog with sponsored rivalries by political parties, particularly, the two main parties, the PDP and APC.”
He, however, said the commission, through monitoring observed that politicians have refused to learn from the past despite effort by the Commission to sensitize and remind them of their responsibilities, which came from the workshops organised.
Kawu further stated that the NBC, through monitoring of the stations has observed that politicians have refused to learn from mistakes of the past despite efforts of NBC to sensitise and remind them of their responsibilities.
“We monitored live rallies and campaigns of the parties and in recent times, live political rallies of political parties have been laced with indecent and abusive languages or language, name calling and vehement allegations and use of hate speech.
“For instance, on the 10th of January, 2019 at the presidential campaign rally of the PDP broadcast by the AIT, the national chairman of the party, accused INEC of rigging previous elections and threatened crisis if election is rigged in 2019.
Some of the excerpts were: ‘We want to warn INEC, all the previous elections you rigged and you escaped, the 2019 elections, you cannot escape unless you want to cause crisis in Nigeria. Let us warn Professor Yakubu; if you want to cause crisis in Nigeria, rig the election. If you want peace, elections must be free and fair.’ That is from The PDP.
“At a live APC governorship rally held on Friday, the 3rd of January, 2019, and aired on NTA, a stalwart of the APC, Rotimi Amaechi, was quoted as saying: ‘I will just continue to say the truth. One of the truths I will tell you is that they are telling Nigerians that Nigerians are hungry. Indeed, if Nigerians are hungry, if these people left money they stole, will Nigerians be hungry? Exactly the $2 billion that they stole. At least, I know about that one, we will not be here today.”
“The expressions and languages in the excerpts captured, can be seen to be abusive and not decent of broadcast contrary to certain sections of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code: 525, 533,” Kawu said.