The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has vowed to shut down broadcast stations whose activities can undermine peaceful co-existence.
Its spokesman, Ekanem Antia, stated in Abuja on Friday that NBC’s director-general Balarabe Ilelah issued the threat at a meeting with broadcast stations on the coverage of national 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,” he warned. “Any further breaches of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and Act will no longer be tolerated.”
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.
Mr Antia also stated that Mr Ilelah commended the media for ensuring peaceful pre-election coverage, especially in informing the public.
He noted, however, that the coverage of the elections and post-election matters were “marred by unguarded statements, divisive and dangerous comments.”
Mr Ilelah stressed that the media has a role in ensuring national development by publishing or broadcasting “narratives of national reconciliation and healing in these unsettling times.”
He called on broadcast stations to avoid promoting negative conversations which are not only dangerous to democracy but pose threats to Nigeria’s corporate existence.
He noted that using broadcast platforms to incite supporters or create enmity would not help deepen 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.
Mr Ilelah appealed to broadcast stations to abide strictly by the laid-down rules of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, the Act and other extant laws guiding broadcasting in Nigeria.
The NBC boss stressed that the media is responsible for ensuring that national issues discussed on the airwaves are decorous, civility, patriotic and fair.