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NBC to sanction broadcast stations over hate speech ahead of polls

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[FILE PHOTO] Is’haq Modibo Kawu, director general, National Broadcasting Commission/Twitter/ modibbo_kawu

TI, CISLAC propose 10-year jail term for security officers, others
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) says it will sanction the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels Television and Africa Independent Television (AIT) for breaching provisions of the national broadcasting code.

It disclosed that it had written to the stations about its decision and will mete out appropriate sanctions to them shortly.

Director General of NBC, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said the sixth edition of the broadcast code has strong entries on hate and dangerous speech and its consequences on broadcasting in the country.

He said with the commencement of campaigns for the 2019 elections, the stations became agog with sponsored political messages, especially those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).

Kawu disclosed that the NBC commissioned a study on coverage of the 2015 elections by broadcast media, issues of hate speeches and their effect on the coverage of the elections, adding that the research offered valuable insights into the way the media operate in the country “and things we need to do better.”

He added that politicians have refused to learn from past mistakes in spite of NBC’s efforts to sensitise them, adding that PDP and APC’s campaigns have been full of hate speeches, names calling and use of abusive language.

“Live broadcasts must be decent, truthful, fair and balanced, while broadcast stations will be held responsible for utterances of politicians on their stations, which contravenes the provisions of the National Broadcasting code,” he said.

Kawu cited instances where both PDP and APC stalwarts made inciting comments at their campaign rallies and were broadcast live on NTA, AIT and Channels.

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in collaboration with Transparency International (TI) has proposed a 10-year jail term for security officers, staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and individuals who compromise electoral integrity during and after the polls.

“After the 2019 elections, the group said Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras should be mounted in polling stations and collation centres to record and monitor activities of INEC staff, police personnel, politicians, party agents and the electorate,” it said.

Security and Defence Programme Manager of CISLAC, Salaudeen Hashim, stated this in Abuja at the launch of preliminary report on Involvement of Nigerian Security Services in the Electoral Process: Guardian or Threat to Democracy.

Speaking, Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, said the role of security personnel became an issue after the elections in Ekiti State in 2014.

Also speaking, Anti-Corruption Programme Manager, CISLAC, Vaclav Prusa, noted that objective of the launch was to highlight the risks and discuss mitigation strategies to reduce involvement of security institutions in the general elections.


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