The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has reiterated its vow to deal with any broadcast media that violates its code on political reportage.
The Director General of NBC, Modibbo Kawu, gave the warning at a two-day training workshop on ‘Political Broadcasts for journalists in Enugu’.
The workshop was themed: “Media Coverage of 2015 Elections: Challenges, Regulatory Framework and the Way Forward for a More Democratic Society’’.
Kawu noted that the commission would not fail in its sanction against any broadcast media that violated the NBC Code for reporting politics.
“This workshop is to remind you that the NBC will wield the big hammer on any broadcast station that goes contrary to the provisions of the NBC Broadcasting Code as it concerns reporting politics and political matters.
“It is clear that we all, both practitioners and regulatory bodies must work together to keep a virile, credible and violence free elections.
“So, we are here to discuss the guidelines and processes to follow so that your stations through acts of omission or commission will not fall victim of the enforcement of the commission,” he said.
In a lecture entitled: “Presentation of Tapestry Hate Speech Research Findings” Pate Umaru of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri in Borno State said that only objectivity and professionalism could eliminate hate speeches in broadcasting.
Pate also urged journalists especially broadcasters to ensure that their personal, ethnic and religious biases do not in any form enter into their reportage.
“As we love this country, we should shun hate speeches and stereotypes against other people since election come and go while Nigeria remains.
“So, I will advise you to anchor all your reportage on facts and objectivity; while leaving out all foul languages, abuses and other tendencies that brings a report to bad taste,’’ he said.
The Director General of Voice of Nigeria, VON, Osita Okechukwu, noted that editors must take their responsibility of gate keeping very serious and avoid being used to propagate hate speeches and negative tendencies.
Mr Okechukwu noted that editors should be courageous enough to kill or keep in view any report, which was unbalanced, unfair, inciting and infused with bad language and taste.
He called on them to advance professionalism in the media and abide by the NBC Code for Political Reporting.
“Editors should stop celebrating political reportage that leads to retrogression in the country as well as cause disharmony among the people.
“Apart from the sanctions of the commission, nobody benefits in a situation of political instability and hostility,” he said.
Some participants at the workshop, Moses Oyediran of the Daily Times Newspaper and Ifeoma Amuta of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, said that the workshop had enlightened them on election coverage.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that over 72 representatives from different media houses mostly broadcasting media from the South East attended the workshop.