Nigeria: NBC Warns Against Sensational Broadcast of Anambra Poll

Regulation & Policy

National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Director General, Yomi Bolanrinwa, has cautioned broadcast practitioners to be wary of the kind of information they disseminate to the public, especially as the governorship election in Anambra State draws closer.

The NBC boss warned that sensational news items capable of inciting public disturbance during future elections would not be tolerated by government as it could enforce a closure of such broadcast firms.

He stated these in Abuja as part of measures to receive inputs on a new national broadcast policy from stakeholders. "Allow me to digress a little to touch a very important matter in view of the impending elections in Anambra State and the crisis in Plateau State.I want to use this opportunity to warn all broadcasting stations that their duty to educate, inform and entertain shall not be at the expense of national interest, unity and cohesion”.

"The central place of broadcasting and its serious effect on the society has made it necessary for broadcast stations to exercise extreme caution in the coverage of elections and crisis because of the complex nature of our society, its diverse social, cultural, religious and political configurations that need to be harmonised.

"Chief executives of broadcast stations should note that any station that violates the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code in the coverage of elections and crisis would have to face the full sanctions of the law.

"The code also stipulates that sensationalism shall be avoided by strictly refraining from speculations and statements, details or exaggerations that could aggravate mass panic or hysteria," Bolanrinwa said.

He observed that 17 years ago when government allowed deregulation of the broadcast industry, many changes in the socio-political and economic activities have necessitated the review of the national broadcast policy, noting that the Nigerian society is at the mercy of ever increasing technological evolution.

Daily Independent 28th January 2010