The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has reiterated the role of the media during and after polls, saying, they hold the ace in making a difference in promoting free and credible elections in the country.
The EVC stated this in a statement by the Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Reuben Muoka, on Sunday.
Danbatta at the 18th All-Nigeria Editors Conference, organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) in Owerri, Imo State, with the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma in attendance, expressed confidence that the Nigerian media will work in the interest of the nation.
The Professor who was represented by Mr Mouka who spoke to the theme of the conference, “2023: Political Landscape, Credible Elections and the Role of the Editors”, declared that good journalism was critical to sustainable democratic culture as political stability is enhanced by conduct of successful elections.
He said he “believes the editors will leave the conference with resolutions setting clear, unambiguous and very robust parameters to guide the role of the media in the forthcoming elections in a fair, objective and balanced manner.
“Beyond and above the traditional routine role of the media in information-sharing, education and entertainment, the media is a social agency constitutionally charged to watch those of us in public office from derailing from the pursuit of the social contract and the social good. No other agency of the civil society is so positioned to influence social progress,” he declared.
He also informed the gathering that the Commission was dedicated to the implementation of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), and the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020-2030), among other regulatory instruments, with a view to enhancing connectivity and social cohesion in the land.
Hence, he said befitting infrastructure, including the upcoming 5G spectrum auction, were all aimed at improving availability and accessibility and affordability. He said there was no doubt that the availability of telecommunications infrastructure will enhance credibility of elections.
Danbatta specifically expressed gratitude to the Nigeria media for trusting the NCC and supporting its efforts to fulfil its mandate right from the beginning of the transition from “state-dominated telecommunication operations to a deregulated, more liberalised market.”
The EVC recalled that NCC’s friendship and partnership with the media had been very mutually-fruitful, as the Commission has leveraged on the media for increased awareness by the public of NCC’s activities, programmes and achievements.
Danbatta also commended the journalists covering the telecom sector as well as other communication professionals for supporting the Commission all the way by giving adequate and prominent coverage to its successes in consumer protection, improvement in infrastructure, adoption of new technologies, most recently, the launch of the Fifth Generation (5G) networks, and reportage of challenges facing the telecom industry.