The Federal Government, yesterday, directed the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to go hard on television and radio stations airing inciting broadcasts, as politicking for the 2023 general election hots up.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who gave the directive at the inauguration of the Governing Board of the commission in Abuja, also asked the board to fast-track the implementation of government’s Digital Switch Over, DSO.
He said: “The most important task facing NBC today is to successfully transition the broadcast industry from analog to digital broadcasting, through the Digital Switch Over, DSO, project. While NBC is the implementing agency for this all-important project, a Ministerial Task Force on DSO, under my chairmanship, is driving the project.
“As quick background information, we launched the pilot phase of the project in Jos, Plateau State, April 30, 2016 and since then, we have launched the DSO in the Federal Capital Territory as well as in Kwara, Kaduna, Enugu, Osun, Lagos, and Kano states.
“We have an ambitious plan to fast-track the DSO this year by launching it in at least two states every month. Unfortunately, we have not been able to meet this target. But we are working hard to resume the DSO launch as soon as possible.
“I urge you all to buy into this project to ensure that NBC is able to deliver on what we perceive as a legacy project – because it will change the face of broadcasting in Nigeria.
“Also, please note that as we move closer to the 2023 general elections, the NBC will come under increasing pressure to step up its regulatory role to prevent a repeat of what transpired before, during and after the 2019 general elections, when some broadcast stations threw caution to the wind and engaged in inciting, incendiary and unprofessional broadcasts.”
“It is important for the commission to ensure that its licensees adhere strictly to the tenets of the broadcasting code.”
Recall that NBC had at various times, sanctioned television and radio stations for what it described as unprofessional broadcasts and hate speech