NBC orders television and radio stations not to name victims, to report “details” of terrorist attacks
The National Broadcasting Commission ordered Nigeria’s television and radio stations not to disclose “details” of the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in their reports.
The regulator specifically ordered radio and television stations not to “glorify the nefarious activities of the insurgents” during their daily newspaper reviews. As an unwritten custom, broadcast stations in Nigeria review newspaper headlines daily before their breakfast.
But NBC, in a letter dated July 7, 2021 to TV and radio stations, stressed the need for “caution” on the part of broadcasters while reporting security concerns in the country.
The letter titled “Newspaper Reviews and News Programs: A Need for Caution” was signed by the Director of Broadcast Monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, on behalf of the new Director General of the Commission, Balarabe Ilelah.
A copy of the letter obtained by The punch, reads in part: “The headlines of most newspapers are full of security-related topics on a daily basis. While bringing security information to Nigerians’ doors is a necessity, care must be taken as too many details can negatively impact the efforts of our security officials who have a duty to deal with the insurgency. .
“The Commission therefore calls on broadcasters to work with the government to address security concerns in;
“Do not glorify the nefarious activities of insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, etc.
“Advise guests and / or program analysts not to polarize citizens with divisive rhetoric, by asserting their point of view.
“Do not give details either on the security problems or on the victims of these security challenges so as not to jeopardize the efforts of Nigerian soldiers and other security agents. ”
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The Council also reminded broadcasting stations to be guided by the provisions of Articles 5.4.1 (f) and 5.4.3 of the NBC Code which stipulate as follows:
“The broadcaster must not transmit divisive material which could threaten or undermine the divisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
“In reporting conflict situations, the broadcaster must play the role of a peace officer by adhering to the principle of accountability, accuracy and neutrality.
For more than a decade, Nigeria has grappled with the insurgency, particularly in the northeastern part of the West African nation. On several occasions, the Nigerian army and the presidency have claimed that Boko Haram fighters and those of its dissident group, the Islamic State of West Africa Province, have been defeated, but the marauders continue to strike with raw savagery and unimaginable guts. According to Global Conflict Tracker, insurgents have killed nearly 350,000 innocent women, children and farmers in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, among other volatile places, since 2009.
On the other hand, the regime of the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), through the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, recently tried to muzzle the press in Nigeria by urging the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Press Council Act and the National Broadcasting Commission Act, a law which was fiercely opposed by media actors who described the decision as a blackout of information similar to the infamous Decree on Protection against False Charges, also known as Decree 4 of 1984.
The federal government also announced the suspension of Twitter in Nigeria on June 4, 2021, citing “the continued use of the platform for activities that could undermine the existence of the Nigerian company.”