YBTC NEWS—The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed electronic media in the country to desist from reporting details of attacks by bandits and insurgents henceforth.
The agency, in a July 7, 2021 circular entitled ‘Newspaper Reviews and Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution’, warned the broadcast stations against “glamourising the nefarious activities of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers.”
It said: “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.”
The NBC described some of the topics discussed during daily newspaper reviews as “ethnological coating” which tend to pit “one section of the country against the other and leaving Nigerians in daily hysteria”.
The commission drew the attention of the broadcast media to Sections 5.4.1(f) and 5.4.3 of the NBC Code which stipulate: “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.”
The circular was signed by the NBC Director of Broadcast Monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, on behalf of the Director General Balarabe Ilelah.
The directive came on the heels of the now suspended amendment to the laws establishing the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Nigeria Press Council (NPC) in the National Assembly.
Media stakeholders had daubed the amendment a ploy to gag the press.
Its sponsor, Olusegun Odebunmi, said on Monday that its withdrawal was to allow for ‘more consultation.’