The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has threatened to sanction the Ondo State Television Service (OSTS) for allegedly broadcasting hate speech against Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, during the governorship election that held in the state in July 2018.
The NBC Director General, Mr. Is’haq Modibbo-Kawu, disclosed this while expressing his displeasure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on August 24, 2018 saying that NBC would not tolerate impunity as the 2019 general elections approach.
He expressed concerned over the aftermath of the elections in Ekiti State, where, he said, it was discovered that OSTS was broadcasting hate speech against Gov. Ayodele Fayose.
He said: “For us in NBC, this is against the national broadcasting code and we are going to sanction that particular station.
“We do not pick and choose which station to sanction. We monitor all radio and TV broadcasting stations in the country and when you flout the code, you are going to be sanctioned.
“On a quarterly basis, we will bring out the list of those we had sanctioned and the reasons and post it in our website and distribute to media houses.”
Mr. Modibbo-Kawu cited a study of contents of the live broadcast of political rallies, where, he disclosed, the Commission discovered that politicians from the ruling party and the opposition were guilty of hate speech.
He reiterated that broadcast stations that are found violating the NBC practice code would henceforth be sanctioned.
The NBC DG explained that: “Politicians tend to just say anything on air; they demonise the opponents, they profile them and say the most horrendous things.”
“The political parties are not our licensees, so, we cannot hold them liable. However, the TV stations that broadcast the rally live have an obligation to abide by.
“We are issuing the report on the studies to the government, political parties and broadcast houses that if you broadcast live materials that flout the national broadcasting code, you are going to be held liable.
“They have to get their acts together and begin to discuss with the people who come to pay a heavy sum of money to do a live broadcast, that there are certain things you cannot say.”
He said that as the 2019 general elections approached, the NBC had become particularly visible, sensitising its licensees to their responsibilities to the nation and the need to respect the regulatory code.
According to him, “the NBC has a responsibility to help use broadcasting to assist the Nigerian people to make informed choices among the different political parties.
But, we should not use broadcasting to cause confusion in our country. One of my pet phrases is that we must first have a country before we have broadcasting.’’
The NBC boss assured that the commission would be neutral and apolitical in the discharge of its statutory duties, including the enforcement of the National Broadcasting Code.