The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has threatened to shut broadcast stations whose activities are capable of undermining peaceful co-existence.
Spokesperson for the Commission, Ekanem Antia, in a statement on Friday, said NBC’s Director-General, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, issued the threat at a meeting with broadcast stations on the coverage of the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.
“The NBC is giving its last warning to broadcast stations and will not hesitate to shut or revoke the licence of any when convinced that its activities are capable of undermining the peaceful co-existence of the country.
“Any further breaches of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and Act will no longer be tolerated”, he warned.
He said the Commission monitored the coverage of the elections by some broadcast stations and noted how they availed unpatriotic individuals their platforms to make subversive, hateful, and inciting utterances, particularly post-election.
Ilelah commended the media for their efforts in ensuring a peaceful pre-election coverage, especially for their selfless service to keeping the citizens informed.
He noted, however, that the coverage of the elections and post-election matters were “marred by unguarded statements, divisive and dangerous comments’’.
Ilelah stressed that the media has a role to play in ensuring national development by publishing or broadcasting narratives of national reconciliation and healing in these unsettling times.
He called on broadcast stations in particular to avoid the promotion of negative conversations which were not only dangerous to democracy, but posed threats to Nigeria’s corporate existence.
He acknowledged that using broadcast platforms to incite supporters or create enmity would not help in deepening the nation’s democracy.
“In as much as the Commission believes in the freedom of expression, it is also seriously constrained to act decisively on any broadcaster that exploits the fragile peace of our nation”, he stressed.
Ilelah appealed to broadcast stations to abide strictly by laid-down rules of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, the Act and other extant laws guiding broadcasting in Nigeria.
He stressed that the media has responsibility to ensure that national issues discussed on the airwaves were done with decorum, civility, patriotism and a sense of fairness.