With less than a year to 2023 General elections, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has cautioned broadcasters against unconventional reportage and urged them to uphold programming standard.
Over the years, NBC has descended heavily on broadcast stations for “unethical” practices. For instance, during the #EndSAS protest, some broadcast stations were fined for using unverifiable footages of the protest. This development was greeted with severe backlash from stakeholders.
Deputy Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Kolawole Oluwadare, had this reply for NBC: “This action by the NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silent independent media and voices. The NBC should drop the fines and uphold Nigerian constitution and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom. Media freedom and media plurality are a central part of the effective exercise of freedom of expression and access to information. The ability to practice journalism free from undue interference, to cover peaceful protests, and critical views are crucial to the exercise of many other rights and freedoms.”
But recently, on its social media platforms, NBC has consistently advised broadcasters on sections of the code.
Citing Section 5.6.2 of the Code, the regulatory body said, “the broadcaster shall approach with restraints, the use of materials from user generation sources, not to embarrass individuals, oganisations, government or cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society at large.
“With reference to Section 5.5.3, the body also advised that the broadcaster shall verify news materials emanating from unconventional sources as Fake News is prohibited.
“On General Programming Standard, NBC advised that the broadcaster shall ensure that, “no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence as a sovereign state.”
Citing Section 3.15.1 (A) of the Code on local content, the regulatory body said the broadcaster shall, “ensure that for a programme to qualify as local content, its conceptualisation, production, target audience which in every case should be Nigeria, satisfies the following: the producer(s) of the programme who must be responsible for creative control, monitoring and decision-making pertaining to the programmes is/are Nigerian(s) residing in Nigeria; the director(s) of the programe is/are Nigerian(s) or the author (s) of the programme is/are Nigerian(s); at least 75% of the leading authors and major supporting cost, including voice actors, or on-screen presenters appearing in the programme are Nigerians.”
The Guardian Newspaper