Is’haq Kawu, Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has warned broadcasters against airing slanderous political campaigns to guard against promoting hate speeches and overheating the polity.
Mr Kawu gave the warning on Wednesday while briefing newsmen on the preparations for 2019 general elections and an update on Digital Switch Over, at the NBC headquarters in Abuja.
He said that the commission had monitored some defamatory campaigns by some political parties, adding that recent times live political campaigns by two major parties had been characterised by indecent languages.
Mr Kawu urged broadcasters to be responsive by reporting political broadcast in respectable language and insist that political parties abide by the provisions of the Broadcasting Code to broadcast their messages.
“With the commencement of electioneering campaign for the 2019 general elections on September 18, 2019, based on INEC guidelines, the national stations have become agog with sponsored libel by political parties, particularly the two main parties; PDP and APC.
“We have observed again through monitoring of stations that, politicians have refused to learn from mistakes of the past in spite of efforts by NBC to sensitise them and remind them of their responsibilities.
“We monitor libel in campaign of parties and in recent times, live political campaigns of the two parties have been characterised with indecent and abusive languages, name calling, allegations and use of hate speech.’’
Kawu said that live coverage of political activities should be truthful, decent, fair and balanced, stressing that, “we are not getting that.`
‘‘We told our licencees that it is very good to make a lot of money during this period.
“But you will be liable if you allow your medium to be used to broadcast materials that are contrary to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
Mr Kawu, who disclosed that sanction letters had been written to broadcasting stations found to have violated the provision of the Code Political broadcast, called on them to be professional, especially on days of elections.
The NBC boss said all political jingles must stop, 24 hours before elections and cautioned stations against announcing results of elections before the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The director-general said that the commission would distribute 5,000 Set Top Boxes to Military formations, Police Stations, Hospitals, NSCDC, 36 state Houses of Assembly and traditional rulers across the country.
According to him, NBC is targeting 16 million households for the digital switch over programme across the country in the next 15 months.