By Abubakar Yusuf.
The National Broadcasting Commission NBC,is the regulatory body of all broadcast stations in Nigeria both foreign and local organizations, whose operational base fall within the perimeter of Nigeria.
The Commission is also saddled with the regualations of the operational guidelines to both public and private broadcast organizations within the country, under the leadership of the Ag Director General, Professor Armstrong Aduku Idachaba.
The multi-dual roles of the Commission aside the sole regulatory agency of all broadcast stations, is also geared towards nipping in the bud, all unprofessional conducts, sanctions against any broadcast media houses, whose intentions is to create uneasy calm in the polity, that may affect the peace, unity and cohesion of the country.
This hammer since the inception of the Commission was often not wielded on erring organisations, may be out of Management lapses or ill decisions, not untill recently when the burden of control came upon an indefatigable and intolerable helmsman, whose belief in professional conduct, ethics and disposition is not negotiable.
The recent decision of the current leadership under the Ag. Director General, Professor Armstrong Aduku Idachaba could be regarded as one of the patriotic and desiring decision to salvage the broadcast media from derailing from its main objectives guiding its operations, salvage the country from needless crises out of sensational stance of some broadcast medium, as well as guide towards the principle of collective responsibility.
Media as the fourth estate of the realm, must not be seen as an instrument that is capable of igniting crises or initiating any, rather than educating the populace, and suppressing human made crises.
Out of democratic wisdom and liberty, the broadcast media should and is not expected to be affront against the populace and constituted authorities, so as to guarantee a virile society.
Even though, the recent practice of many prominent private broadcast media houses,fell short of expectations, as the policy of editing news items is no longer a corrolary.
Most of its news items are no longer verifiable, against the operational codes of the NBC, as their activities are regarded as untouchable, this aside overheating the polity, negates Nigeria’s national security.
The situation had gone so bad, taken a political coloration and dimensions, hence affecting negatively the day to day operation of the media houses and peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
The Commission after series of warnings and reprimand had decided to wield its big stick, not a clampdown by folding the activities of these erring broadcast media houses, that will be regarded as undemocratic and capable of hampering the freedom of speech in a democratic environment, but devise wrath of fines of various degrees, to serve as both checks and balances and deterrent to others.
The recent decision of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC on a radio station in Abuja, over the utterances of a former Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria over an interview that involve inflammatory statements on Boko Haram insurgents, was quite commendable to the expectations of many Nigerians.
The 5 million Naira fine against Nigeria Info Radio station in Lagos, had reverted the higly concentrated private radio houses in Nigeria, to regulate many of their programmes, particularly interviews and phone-in programmes.
The action is very commendable on the part of the new NBC, as its monitoring units and Management had shown that it is alive to its responsibility.
The most recent sanction on three television broadcast stations in Nigeria, AIT, Channels, and Arise Television through fines, regarded as untouchable, having won both National and International awards, is the best thing that had happened to Nigeria as a country.
The display of video footage of Lekki attacks, not covered by the erring broadcast media houses, fell short of expectations, unbecoming of such gigantic organisations, and against the ethical standards.
This is a signal and a clear indication that the new NBC under Professor Armstrong Aduku Idachaba is all out to redirect the operations of the Commission, so as to deliver on its mandate to the expectations of Nigerians.
This adminstrative acumen displayed by the NBC, is also a warning signal both to the print and social media and its users, as regulating its activities through an agency of government is not only needed, but the bane of the survival of Nigeria as a country.
The timely decision was commendable as it had gone down as part of many decisions taken by the current Management, under the Ag Director General, Professor Armstrong Aduku Idachaba.
Abubakar Yusuf is a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja.
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