The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has given television and radio stations in Nigeria conditions under which to carry news stories relating to activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers.
The body directed the broadcasting bodies not to report “details” of bandits, terrorists, and kidnappers activities within the country.
Specifically, the regulator ordered radio and television stations not to “glamourise the nefarious activities of insurgents” during their daily Newspaper Reviews.
In a letter dated July 7, 2021, and issued to television and radio stations, the Commission stressed the need for “caution” by broadcasters while reporting the security challenges in Nigeria.
The letter titled, ‘Newspaper Reviews And Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution’, was signed by the Director, Broadcast Monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, on behalf of the new Director-General of the Commission, Balarabe Ilelah.
The letter reads, “Headlines of most Newspapers on a daily basis are replete with security topics. While bringing information on security to the doorsteps of Nigerians is a necessity, there is a need for caution as too many details may have an adverse implication on the efforts of our security officials who are duty-bound to deal with the insurgency.
“The Commission, therefore, enjoins broadcasters to collaborate with the government in dealing with the security challenges by..
“Not glamourising the nefarious activities of insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, etc.
“Advising guests, and/or analysts on programmes not to polarise the citizenry with divisive rhetoric, in driving home their point.
“Not giving details of either the security issues or victims of these security challenges so as not to jeopardise the efforts of the Nigerian soldiers and other security agents.”
Also, NBC admonished the broadcast stations to be guided by provisions of Sections 5.4.1(f) and 5.4.3 of the NBC Code which states thus:
“The broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the divisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
“In reporting conflict situations, the broadcaster shall perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy, and neutrality.”
Meanwhile, there have been recent attempts by the Nigerian government to gag the press, a move that has received backlash from stakeholders and the masses at large, saying the move would amount to information blackout.
The Federal government through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has many times, prodded the National Assembly to amend the Nigeria Press Council Act and the National Broadcasting Commission Act, in efforts to control the media.