Insecurity: NBC insists ‘public interests’ must be focus of reportage | Dailytrust

Insecurity: NBC insists ‘public interests’ must be focus of reportage

National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)

The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has reiterated its call for broadcast stations to put public interest as the focus of their reportage of insecurity issues in the country.

This is coming after the backlash that in July trailed the amendment bills for the NBC Act and Nigerian Press Council Acts at the National Assembly, with the media industry describing the move as a plan to achieve “information blackout”.

But speaking yesterday in Kano during a meeting with Chief Executives Officers of broadcasting stations in the Northwest and North east States, the Director-General of the NBC, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah said the Commission is not out to censor the media but only to regulate.

Making reference to the several security challenges in the country, Ilelah said “As professional broadcasters, responsibility is thrust on us to cautiously weigh the impact of our content on the people. In times of crisis and emergencies, public interest must be the central focus. It is not a time for sensational reportage.”

“Let us be wary of people who are hell-bent on destabilizing the peace of the country and cause disaffection among its people. The Nigeria Broadcasting Code is explicit on the guidelines on coverage and reportage during periods of Crises, Emergencies and Conflicts.

“Therefore, I appeal to you to play your part in setting positive direction, and help free the country from terrorism, kidnapping and secessionists’ agenda,” he added.

The NBC DG also said broadcasters must be wary of falling prey to tricks of fake news so as to avoid the sledgehammer of the regulator that comes in form of sanctions, stressing that broadcasting licenses are held in trust on behalf of the public.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that 1999 Constitution has actually empowered broadcasters to report the daily factual account of events and issues, including holding government accountable, but that should be exercised with civility.

“The Commission wishes to, again, re-emphasize that all broadcasters must adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004,” he said.

NBC to unveil new license regime

The DG also announced that so far 140 new Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) stations have been licensed at national, regional and local levels in the past three years, adding that  the Commission will soon unveil an affordable license fee regime principally to open doors for many players.

“I am equally glad to inform you that we will soon launch DSO in Kano, the commercial hub of northern Nigeria,” he added.

Clement A. Oloyede & Ahmad Bagari (Kano)

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