Some supporters of President Muhammad Buhari in Kano violated Nigeria’s broadcast code on radio programmes, then complained to the Presidential Villa when the radio stations were sanctioned, an official has said.
The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Ishaq Kawu, said this on Thursday while speaking at NBC stakeholders forum on political broadcast held on Thursday in Kano.
“In Kano for example, we have certain individuals who will come on radio and say they are the representatives of supporters of President Buhari. And then go on radio and say the most outlandish things on radio.
“Now, when the NBC sanctions the stations, the story is taken back to the Villa that NBC is sanctioning stations broadcasting things that support the president.
“Now, it is very difficult for us because the next step they go is : ‘we don’t think this DG NBC supports us.”
The broadcast regulator explained that his agency was just doing a holistic job.
“But if you look at the way this things have gone, we look at every single station, we follow what they do, we sanction them appropriately. Then this we keep doing on a permanent basis.”
The NBC chief, whose organisation regulates the broadcast media in Nigeria, also said some sanctioned radio stations find it difficult to pay their fines.
He added that the commission is operating within the existing laws and cannot fine stations beyond specific amounts
Mr. Kawu lamented how radio stations in Kano violated the NBC code through unbalanced programmes, unsubstantiated remarks and phone-in programmes where the audience get direct access to the studio without a gatekeeper, who screens callers.
In his address, the immediate past chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, recalled how a sitting governor during 2011 general election used state government owned radio and aired false results.
“It is the prompt intervention of INEC that saved the state from crisis. But when INEC lodged a complaint to NBC on the incidence, the commission fined the station alone”, Mr. Jega said.
In his remarks, dean of faculty of communication, Bayero University, Kano, Umaru Pate, advocated for a media code against hate and dangerous speech; strengthening the capacity of broadcast professionals and review of the existing laws to eliminate loopholes that allow for the broadcasting of such speech.
“The NBC should invest in carrying out surveys on electoral trends to improve its understanding of the nature of up-coming elections and ensure that hate and dangerous speech are controlled.
“The NBC, UNESCO and civil society organizations should support educational institutions offering media studies to strengthen their curricula to incorporate the teaching of the subject of hate and dangerous speech in their content,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited to reflect the exact quotes of the NBC chief.