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Herdsmen: NBC cautions TV, radio stations against reporting divisive content

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned television and radio stations against broadcasting divisive content.

The warning is stated in a letter titled, ‘Broadcast of Crisis Involving Herdsmen, Caution’, dated January 26, 2021, sent to broadcasters nationwide.

NBC, which is the regulator of the broadcast media, said there was a need for stations to maintain professionalism.

The letter reads in part: “The National Broadcasting Commission wishes to bring to your attention emerging trends of national concern like the herdsmen crisis in Ondo and Oyo states and related issues which could spiral out of proportion if not properly handled.

“The commission, therefore, seizes this opportunity to admonish broadcasters on the need to exhibit professionalism and observe required caution in the coverage and presentation of the quit notice to herdsmen and related issues.”

The NBC reminded broadcasters of the rules governing coverage of crisis as well as the constitutional need to not only promote and protect the corporate existence of the country but the economic well-being of the Nigerian state.

It quoted Sections 5.4.1 (a b&f) and 5.4.3 of the broadcast code.

Part of the section reads: “(Broadcasters) 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 NBC has in recent time come under fire for its stiff regulations which civil society groups say are at variance with democratic norms. The commission had in October fined Channels Television, Arise TV and AIT for the manner with which it covered the #EndSARS protests.

The television stations were each fined N3m because their offence was capable of leading to a breakdown of law and order but that the option of the fine will serve as a warning to the stations and others.

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