In Nigeria, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, has recently issued a warning to broadcast media outlets against using their platforms to promote campaigns that incite violence and division in the nation.
Ilelah made this announcement in Lagos at the political broadcasting sensitization forum themed “Towards a fair and responsible broadcast coverage of the 2023 general elections: a multi-stakeholder dialogue”.
The director general said that broadcasters were not legally permitted to announce election results except before the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does so and then issued a warning that any media outlet that unilaterally adopted the viewpoint of INEC would face harsh sanctions.
“The commission would penalise any broadcaster that participated in political campaigns in 2023 while flouting the code of conduct, the Electoral Act, and other applicable legislation,” Ilelah stated.
Also, the director general emphasised that broadcasters must provide equal distribution of airwaves for jingles and programmes throughout their peak period while maintaining that practitioners must act responsibly.
According to Ilelah, broadcasters are intended to provide equitable forums for the fair exchange of ideas. In addition, political broadcasting must be crafted to encourage tolerance, political harmony, and national cohesion.
“We must advocate for nonviolence rather than violence, educate rather than misinform, and defend rather than dismantle society,” Ilelah added.