Incensed by the increasing provocative utterances in the electronic media by political actors in the buildup to the general elections, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), on Saturday in Enugu asked broadcast stations across the country to discontinue offensive political broadcasts which can ignite resentment, violence, anarchy and chaos in the country.
The stations were reminded that national interest must take prominence over personal, party, or sectional interests, as they have the responsibility to educate the masses and politicians on the dangers of smear campaigns amongst and against political opponents.
The Commission’s Director General, Emeka Mba, who gave the charge while speaking at a one-day sensitisation meeting with stakeholders organised by the commission in Enugu with the theme ‘The Role of Broadcasters and Government’, stressed the need for broadcast stations to promote peace in their reportage and avoid anything that would lead to breakdown of law and order.
He said broadcasters have important role to build an enlightened civic society that should know its obligations before, during and after elections in order to be able to hold leaders accountable.
He noted that stations must endeavour to support and promote all shades of opinion and provide a level-playing ground to all as to avoid complaints bias from political actors, adding that those in the social media should also ensure that dangerous contests are censored.
In a ten-point communique issued at the end of the meeting chaired by a former Director General of Radio Nigeria, Kelvin Ejiofor, with veteran broadcaster and former Zonal Director of NBC, Enugu Zone, Egbuna Akpa as guest speaker, participants drawn from broadcast stations in the south east, police commissioners from the zone as well as Information Commissioners from the area agreed that provocative and hate messages should be controlled by the media.