Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), says his comments at a stakeholders meeting in Kano on Thursday was taken out of context.
Kawu had been quoted as saying anytime the NBC calls broadcasters to order in line with the broadcasting code, supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari would report him to the president.
But in a statement issued by the commission on Saturday, Kawu said his words were “sensationalised” and the reporting was “incorrect”.
THE FULL STATEMENT
The attention of the Management of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has been drawn to a sensational and incorrect report circulating on the internet, where it was falsely alleged that the Director General of the Commission, Mall. Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, accused some supporters of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, of violating the Broadcasting Code, among other embarrassing misrepresentations and claims.
To set the record straight, and for the avoidance of any doubt, the NBC organized a Stake-Holders Forum on Political Broadcasts which held on Thursday 26th October, 2017 in Kano, Kano State. The theme of the meeting and the choice of this location in Kano were both necessary and strategic, given the fact that Kano is the most populous state in Nigeria with over twenty operating broadcast establishments as well as the observed spike in hate speech within the environment.
The establishment act of the NBC specifies that regulating the Industry is a core function of the Commission in order to ensure decent, objective and factual reportage by all Operators, and this resonates with the expressed determination and policy thrust of the present administration to eliminate hate and incendiary speeches and broadcasts across all levels of society, that have heated and strained the society and law enforcement efforts.
It was against this background that the Director General of the Commission, in his address at the occasion, alluded to the escalating spate of hate speech in political broadcasts, and the imperative for broadcast operators to be vigilant and be guided by the broadcasting code in their operations. He lamented instances where political actors often misconstrue the statutory role of NBC as an Industry regulator to be impeding/restricting their political activities, making such actors to reach out to contacts in high levels of government for undue political interference and advantage. In making this observation, the Director General drew several examples across political and regional boundaries to justify the assertion.
It is therefore grossly untrue and mischievous to misrepresent the remarks of the Director General of the NBC at the Forum as an exclusive accusation targeted against supporters of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. The position of the NBC on hate speech and other incendiary broadcasts remains consistent with the overarching principles and rules of global best-practice, and are aligned to the broader policy thrusts of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NBC would therefore like to seize this opportunity and strongly appeal to our partners in both the traditional and on-line media to uphold the guiding tenets of the noble profession through objective, factual and decent reportage. This has been the time-tested practice and should remain the irreducible minimum gold-standard in our media practice.