The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has called on all broadcasting stations to exercise restraint in the treatment of sensitive issues that could threaten the unity and stability of Nigeria.
The commission, in response to criticism of the planned radio station by Federal Government to reach Fulani herdsmen, urged broadcasting stations to be professional and take guidance from the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, at all times.
The NBC, in a statement on Saturday, reminded all broadcasters to be mindful of their social responsibility to promote the well-being and peaceful co-existence of the various groups in Nigeria in keeping with the objectives of broadcasting in the country.
It stated, “The commission is reacting to the media controversy over the license granted to the National Commission for Nomadic Education for the establishment of a radio station to operate on the AM band.
“The National Commission for Nomadic Education duly applied for the broadcast license in furtherance of its objectives to develop and maintain nomadic education outreach programmes, including electronically mediated ones.
“The letter of provisional approval dated September 28, 2018, was issued to the National Commission for Nomadic Education. The duration of the license is from October 8, 2018, to October 8, 2023.”
The NBC noted that the station’s programmes, which it describes as “purely educational,” were designed to cater for the interest of migrant fishermen, herders, hunters, farmers, and migrants.
It added, “Consequently, it is a misrepresentation for any person or organisation to imply that the licensed station was just for a particular group.
“The commission wishes to state that similar educational broadcast licences were issued to institutions of higher learning and other governmental institutions with comparable needs, such as the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the Federal Road safety Commission, and related institutions.
“Specifically, the Commission enjoins broadcasting stations to take special note of the following provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which emphasise peace and national integration.”
Citing Sections 3.1.2 and 5.5.5 of the broadcasting code, the NBC said, while upholding professionalism and observing global best practices, stations were further advised to treat potentially divisive issues with tact and sensitivity.
“The commission, therefore, reiterates that broadcast organisations are expected to exercise freedom of expression as agents of society, not for any personal or sectional rights, privileges and needs of their own or of their proprietors, relatives, rights or supporters as highlighted in the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission codes.