AIT, NTA, Others Breach Broadcasting Rules – NBC

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Emeka Mbah, DG, NBC

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The National Broadcasting Commission says 20 broadcasting stations breached broadcasting rules guiding airing of sponsored materials

| By Anayo Ezugwu | Apr. 13, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |

THE National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has indicted the African Independent Television, AIT, and the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, for airing controversial sponsored documentary on Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC. In a statement issued by Awwalu Salihu, director of public affairs, NBC, on Monday, March 30, also listed other television and radio stations that were indicted for various offences committed in the coverage of the 2015 general elections.

Although Salihu simply mentioned the offence of the NTA and AIT as contravening rules for airing sponsored materials, the two stations had been at the centre of controversy for airing documentaries on Buhari and Bola Tinubu, national leader of the APC. The NTA was also indicted for contravening rules on sensibilities while AIT was also indicted for contravening 24-hour advert prohibition rules.

“The contraventions include breaches of the rules on the broadcast of sponsored electoral campaign materials, which must conform to the standards of truth, decency and good taste, and requiring the sponsor to be clearly identified. Other breaches included the airing of campaign materials or programmes that promoted political parties or candidates within the 24-hour prohibition period, as well as unauthorised networking by a group of stations,” he said.

Other stations that were indicted for varied offences include Rima Radio, STV Lagos, NTA Lagos, NTA2 Channel 5, TVC Lagos, NTV, PRTV Jos, NTA Makurdi, Vision FM, Nigeria Info, OSBC TV, Freedom TV, Ilesa, BCOS TV, Liberty TV, Liberty Radio, Karama (FRCN) FM, Alheri FM, NTA Jos, Ombe Media Corp Radio FM, BSES Ekiti and DSTV (Ebony Live TV Channel). The NBC spokesman said all the stations had either been queried or sanctioned according to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

Supporting the position of NBC Santiago Fisas, chief observer, European Union Election Observation Mission, said during the presentation of the mission’s preliminary statement in a press conference in Abuja that EU’s media monitoring team discovered that government-controlled broadcast media exhibited partisanship by giving advantage to the incumbent at federal or state level. Fisas said also that some private media organisations were balanced and objective in their coverage of the elections.

Buhari and his party had on January 30, petitioned the NBC over the controversial documentaries. The petition drew the attention of the commission to what it described as the ongoing mischievous, fabricated, defamatory and hate documentary broadcasts by African Independent Television and Nigerian Television Authority against All Progressives Congress and its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.

The APC noted that apart from being fabricated and planted, the broadcasts were a complete negation of the recent noble violence-free election accord. The petition read in part: “Campaign of hate, particularly when based on twisted facts and ill intentions, is a constructive incitement to violence. Campaign of hate is not only dehumanizing, it is against the spirit of our constitution and unwholesome to national interest. The electorate have right to base their evaluation of every election candidate on true facts, not deceptive and cooked manipulations.

“As you are aware, the broadcasts contravened Sections 34 (1) (a), 35, 36 and 37 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as Section 95 of the Electoral Act, 2010. General election is a solemn process to enable Nigerians build a better nation, good future and real prosperity. Certainly, these cannot be achieved on campaign and broadcast of hate.

“I, therefore, request your good office to investigate these ugly developments in our nation-building processes as to issue out necessary punishments to the Nigerian Television Authority, Daar Communication Plc, (the owners of African Independent Television) and their comrades in the unholy acts.”

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