​Sanction Violators of Broadcast Code, Minister Directs NBC

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has

directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction

broadcasting organizations that violate the nation’s Broadcast Code,

saying the serial violation of the code by many radio and television

stations constitute a threat to national peace, security and unity.
The Minister gave the directive while addressing participants at the

DSO Stakeholders’ Retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Friday.
”As I have said on a number of occasions, this Administration will

neither stifle press freedom nor tamper with freedom of expression.

But it will also not condone a situation in which broadcast stations

will set the nation on fire by ignoring the minimum standard as

contained in the Broadcast Code.
”If we set the country on fire by our actions, none of us will escape

the consequences. For those who may

think this is far-fetched, let me remind them that a radio station,

Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), played a (catalytic)

role during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide that left some 800,000 people

dead,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the Broadcast Code was clear when it said in

Section 0.2.1: ”Broadcasting shall influence society positively,

setting the agenda for the social, cultural, economic, political and

technological development of a

nation, for the public good.”
He also quoted three other relevant Sections of the Code: Section

3.1.2 (Materials likely to incite or encourage to the

commission of a crime or lead to public disorder shall not be

broadcast); Section 3.9.1 (Language or scene likely to encourage or

incite to crime, or lead to disorder, shall not be broadcast) and

Section 0.2.3g (Broadcasting shall be mindful of the degree of harm

and offence likely to be caused by the inclusion of any material in

programming, in general or in specific terms).
”Unfortunately, many of our broadcasters today are wilfully flouting

these critical Sections of the Code by broadcasting inciting materials

and language that can encourage or incite crime or lead to disorder.

The situation has become worse in recent times, in the wake of the

Farmers/Herders’ clashes.
”The killings in Benue in the new year are unfortunate, condemnable

and unacceptable. But the coverage of the aftermath of the killings by

many broadcast stations has shown a flagrant disregard for the

Broadcast Code, lack of professionalism and outright irresponsibility.

Many broadcast stations are guilty of this,” the Minister said.
He added: ”For those who may want to misrepresent us, this is not a

call for censorship, but a call for responsibility and total adherence

to the Broadcast Code. Playing, over and over again, the footage of

dead bodies in the aftermath of any crisis is capable of inciting

public disorder. Rolling, time and time again, the footage of mass

burial of victims of any crisis is equally inciting. Offering your

platform to public commentators who use incendiary language or engage

in

ethnic-baiting is detrimental to national peace and unity.”
Alhaji Mohammed commended the stakeholders for the success recorded in

the Digital Switch Over (DSO) last year., saying it was a ”pleasant

irony” that a year that was marked with bickering ended with DSO

rollout in Kwara and Kaduna States within 48 hours.
He said the momentum must be maintained by making the year 2018 the

most successful yet in the country’s digitization process.
”This retreat is therefore highly commendable, as it provides the

stakeholders the opportunity to take a holistic look at the whole

process and come out with the way forward. I have no doubt that the

retreat, coming so early in the year, will have a positive impact on

the DSO process, and speed up our rollout in the new year,” the

Minister said.

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