The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has ordered television and radio stations in Nigeria not to disclose details of the activities of terrorists, bandits and kidnappers in their daily reports.
The directive was contained in a letter signed by the Director, Broadcast and Monitoring,Francisca Aiyetan, on behalf of the Director-General of NBC, Balarabe Illah.
TheFact Nigeria recalled that the NBC had ordered all broadcast stations to go off Twitter after the ban by federal government. Critics of the Buhari led administration had alleged that there is an attempt to gag the media.
However, in the letter titled, “Newspaper Reviews And Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution”the regulatory body specifically told television and radio stations not to glamorize the nefarious activities of insurgents during their daily Newspaper Reviews. As an unwritten custom, broadcast stations in Nigeria review Newspaper headlines daily before their breakfast shows.
“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, order 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.”
The Commission also directed 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.”