The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed television and radio stations in Nigeria not to report “details” of the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers on their platform.
The NBC gave the directive in a letter dated July 7, 2021, entitled: ‘Newspaper Reviews And Current Affairs Programmes: A Need For Caution’, which was signed by Francisca Aiyetan, Director, Broadcast Monitoring, on behalf of Balarabe Ilelah, Director-General of the NBC.
According to the broadcast media regulator, there is a need for television and radio stations to exercise caution while reporting security challenges in the country, especially with the review of newspaper headlines.
It stated that the broadcast stations’ disclosure of “too many details” may have an adverse effect on the efforts of the Nigerian security agencies, particularly when analysts tend to “glamourise the nefarious activities of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers”.
The letter read: “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 commission also reminded broadcast stations of the need 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.”