Media must adhere to ethical standards during election- NBC
The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC has charged broadcast organizations in the country to adhere to journalistic values and code of ethics guiding the profession toward ensuring peaceful elections come next month.
Kaduna Zonal Director of NBC, Jamilu Jega made the call during a one-day media conference organised by Interfaith Mediation Center, IMC Kaduna with the theme: “understanding Broadcasting Code for effective broadcast toward 2023 general election”.
He explained that the commission is saddled with the responsibility of fostering peace, unity and development by regulating how information is acquired, managed and disseminated in line with the code of practice, hence the need to enlighten broadcast practitioners to enable them discharge their mandate effectively.
The Zonal Director pointed out the need for broadcast practitioners to desist from hate speech, fake news and divisive remarks while using political materials for news and current affairs program to avoid being sanctioned.
According to Jega, the commission has a sanction procedure that included fines ranging from N200.000 to five million for any broadcast station that breaks the rules depending on the gravity of the offence committed.
“As a broadcaster, you need to tell them what is expected of them, content has to go in line with what is in the code of practice, and anything outside that is not broadcasting.
“Campaign period is divided into three, pre-campaign, campaign and after campaign period and each of the periods has what is being expected from it, during campaign it is crucial to educate and enlighten the people on what to do, and it has to be in line with the provision of the code of practice”. He noted.
In their opening remark, Co-Executive Directors of IMC, Rev James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa posited that the media conference became imperative following the need to build the capacity of broadcast practitioners for them to uphold the guiding principles of their profession with a view to tackle media sensationalism.
The Co-directors pledged the commitment of the center to collaborate with the Kaduna state peace commission, different religious bodies and the media to promote religious tolerance and ensure a violent free elections in the state and the country at large.
“Looking at the challenges today where we have seen some politicians, religious leaders, and even media organizations promoting fake news and fantasies, and that is why we feel the NBC and other media stations should come together with the imc as we are moving into this space that is so sensitive and fragile, can we be able to move into it without code of conduct, values, justice and fairness in the presentation of our news materials.
“In the spirit of doing more harm, yes, is a news, we have someone who says or claims it, but what consequences does it have on the Transitional process?, Is it positive or negative, what we are saying is that, no matter how good the news is, if it is going to bring more negative consequences, then it is better to kill it, than make it a breaking news that will have broken consequences on our fragile Nation”, said IMC Co-directors.
The commissioner of internal security and home affairs in Kaduna State Mr. Samuel Aruwan in his presentation pointed out that, Government has put in place necessary measures that will enable citizens to vote in a peaceful atmosphere, and to also ensure that their vote count during the next month elections.
Represented by his Special Assistant Mr. Mike Edube, the commissioner said the ministry which is a link between the Government, security agencies and the citizens will continue to work assiduously toward ensuring that people are duly enlightened with accurate information about security situation in the state.
The Kaduna state Council Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ,
Comrade Asmau Yawo Haliru expressed the commitment of the council to uphold ethical values of the profession toward ensuring objective reportage before, during and after the general election to promote peace and unity.
Reporting by Daniel Karlmax; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade