If you listen to, or watch our OAPs (on air personalities) on our local radio or TV stations, you would be so sure they belonged to opposition political parties, or are perhaps sympathisers to insurrectionists and other anti-government movements or organisations. They invite guests that are squarely opposition party members and people who speak on behalf of insurrectionists and the like. These guests on a daily basis do nothing but spew commentary on national issues that spell doom for the country. Day in day out, they always incite the populace towards violence and mayhem. They work on ethnic and religious sentiments to further cloud our psyche and propel us towards disintegration as a nation. If you watch these media on a daily basis, you would certainly be depressed and would have no hope for our country, as the most prosperous black nation in the world. Did you watch how it was widely reported that the EFCC boss had slumped while delivering a speech? Did you now come to realise that he never did, but cut short his speech, excused himself and walked back to his seat? It was now later claimed that he slumped in his chair! Media nationwide needed a ‘slump’ so badly that they had to resign to having him slump in his seat!!! The sad realisation is that Nigerian media outlets know that bad news and fake news sell more, and so they have embraced it full throttle!
When the NBC (National Broadcasting Commission) comes knocking on the doors of TV and radio stations, it gets vilified. The chicanery of the various broadcast stations set in and they further spread more fake news to gain public sympathy. From a mere NBC invite, it turns into a DSS invitation which never happened. One wonders whether the private broadcasters never read the codes that brought then to life. The NBC, created by a decree in 1992, and subsequently by an Act of the national assembly (Act 55 of 1999), now known as the National Broadcasting Commission Laws of the federation 2004 CAP N11; has the first and foremost duty of regulating and controlling the broadcasting industry in Nigeria. The commission on behalf of the federal government has the responsibility of processing applications, and registering broadcast channels where requirements are met. These include radio stations, TV stations, cable television services, satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting; both government and privately owned ones. The commission as the watch dog of the industry, is constitutionally empowered to sanction any broadcast outlet whose programmes endanger the peace and unity of our country. Immoral materials too can be sanctioned by the NBC as it deems it corruptive to our youths and societal values.
The NBC is not all sanctions and doesn’t do anything for the development of the Industry. Before now, the local content from TV broadcast stations was at a mere 30%. This didn’t mean that Nigeria was not doing more in terms of music and movies. The NBC went to work and was able to mandate all cable stations to produce and carry more local content. This gave birth to so many programmes and channels like Africa Magic, to a richer mix of Africa Magic Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Urban, Showcase etc. NBC was also able to get cable TV giants to have Nigerian channels on their networks. Such channels include AIT, TVC, Channels, MiTV, LTV, Silverbird, NTA etc. Most Nigerians do not know all of these were done by the NBC. Most of these stations are the same ones coming back to infringe on the codes guiding their operations. Anytime the NBC decides to sanction them, they engage on a campaign of calumny against the commission, inciting the public against the NBC.
Just recently, the NBC issued a statement, tasking the broadcast stations on their coverage of the activities of bandits and other terrorist organisations. The media is a huge weapon for these terrorists and the more publicity they get, the more courageous and potent they become. Sometimes too, the details in the reporting of the security measures taken, compromises the success of the operations of our security networks. When the NBC asked the media to stop promoting and enabling these terrorists, it became a rostrum for the vilification of the NBC. Certain details of the victims of Kidnapping too, jeopardises their rescue. But the media would have non of that. They were trigger happy to continue selling and making money off the grief of others.
If the NBC were to strictly adhere to the regulations of the Act establishing it, then most broadcast stations would have been closed down by now. Because time and time again, they have fomented chaos with the kind of imbalanced material they broadcast. This is not healthy for our populace, especially the youth, who are easily drawn to wreck havoc, without understanding the motive and the motivators behind their vile actions. It is my fervent hope that the DG of the NBC, Alh. Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, would be able to fully sensitise the general public about the functions of the NBC. While at that, I hope that he would be able to have a roundtable with the broadcast stations, reminding them of the proper codes of conduct, their oaths at birth, and ofcourse the consequences of their ill-advised broadcasting styles.
Tahir is Talban Bauchi.