NBC threatens to sanction broadcasters over politicising of COVID-19 reportage

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned broadcasters on politicising social distancing, lockdown and palliative intervention of the Federal Government for COVID-19 pandemic.

NBC said that some broadcast stations air one-sided reports of events with observing balance and fairness.

NBC in a statement signed by the Acting Director-General Professor Armstrong Idachaba warned broadcasters to desist from the trend or face penalty.

The statement reads: “The National Broadcasting Commission wishes to, once again, commend broadcasters for the far-reaching sensitization of the general public and coverage of efforts towards containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“However, the Commission has observed with dismay, that the Social distancing order, necessary Lockdown and Palliative Intervention Programme of the Federal Government are being politicized by some broadcast stations on COVID-19. It is more appalling to note that some broadcasters air one-sided reports of events without observing the professional ethics of balance and fairness.

“We draw, your attention to the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code please, 5.4.1: The Broadcaster shall at all times, ensure that the coverage of a disaster or crisis is aimed at the overall public interest, guidance, and safety.

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“5.4.3: In reporting conflict (emergency) situation, the broadcaster shall perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy, and neutrality.

“3.3.1: The Broadcaster shall: Ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate, ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance, be above inherent biases, prejudices and subjective mindsets;

“4.1.1: The Broadcaster shall ensure that panelists in a discussion programme reflect the various viewpoints, panelists are of comparable status and relevance.”

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