The Federal Government has warned television and radio stations against what it described as fake news, hate, provocative and speculative broadcasts as Nigeria approaches the 2023 general elections, threatening to sanction erring broadcasters.
This came just as the National Broadcasting Commission said it was ready to publish the names of broadcasters owing the commission licence fees and other debts.
The Director-General, NBC, Balarabe Ilelah, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at the Broadcasting Media Digital Convention/76th General Assembly of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria jointly organised by BON, Broadcast Media Africa and Multichoice Nigeria Limited.
Ilelah also noted that the broadcast media is a key contributor to social, economic and political stability of any nation. “Regardless of the inherent challenges of the new media and related issues, we must ensure responsive professionalism in our operations and conducts,” he stated.
The DG of NBC appreciated the intervention mechanisms and efforts of the leadership of BON on the “lingering indebtedness of licence and other legal fees of broadcasters to the commission.”
He said, “The appeal for more time by BON yielded some positive results as some broadcast stations took advantage of the commissions’ extension of the deadline for settlement of the outstanding license fees but other stations remained adamant to all entreaties offered over the time.
“The commission is now left with no option but to publish the names of the indebted Stations, immediately.”
Ilelah added, “Another task ahead is ensuring successful electoral processes and conducts come 2023 general elections.
“Stations are warned to desist from encouraging and allowing the use of their platforms for fake news, hate, provocative and speculative broadcasts. The commission will not hesitate to sanction any violation of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, accordingly.”
Similarly, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, in his address, appealed to the media to continue providing accurate and verified information that will promote the unity of the country and deepen its democracy.
Mohammed said, “Now that the politicking has started prelude to the 2023 general election, the media, as the fourth estate of the realm, must adhere strictly to the rules as stipulated in NBC Code and other statutes, including the newly passed Electoral Act.