Dear Colleagues;It is my pleasure to welcome you to this press conference. This has been called to present to you the Second Quarter Monitoring of Broadcast Stations Profile as we always do. this covers the period from April to June, 2019.
Coming shortly after the National and State Elections in the First Quarter of the year, the report indicates that though there is a drop in breaches related to hateful, abusive and inflammatory broadcast, which peaked during the elections, and for which as many as 45 stations were fined, the 2nd Quarter indicates that the trend has continued among certain stations, especially in political programmes. Therefore 20 stations were fined in the 2nd Quarter, for breaching provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code on Hate speech.
Other breaches were in the area of Obscene and Vulgar Lyrics- a total of 10 stations were fined for infractions related to use of Vulgar Lyrics and Obscene Content. It is worth mentioning that the Program Big Brother NAIJA was cautioned against unwholesome content on its broadcast.
Use of unsubstantiated and misleading claims by advertisers especially Trado medic advertising, also dropped significantly from the last quarter, but a total of 30 stations were fined for infractions related to same.
Ten (10) broadcast stations were fined for breaches related to station announcers turning themselves to advertisers, hypers and promoters of product.
1 Obscenity: Kaduna Zone recorded highest with 36.53% followed by Abuja Zone with 17.31% and Uyo Zone came third with 15.38%.
2 Hate Speech: Abuja Zone topped the chart with 19.21% followed by Kaduna zone with 18.22% and Maiduguri Zone came third with a record of 15.27% while the least in hate speech was Ibadan zone with 6.89%.
3 Unprofessionalism: Three zones topped the chart with the same percentages. Kaduna zone, Sokoto zone and Uyo topped the chart with
20.00% each followed by Jos zone with 3.85% while Ibadan and Benin recorded lowest with 2.95% and 3.44%.
4 Unverifiable Claims: Ibadan zone recorded highest with 25.33, followed by Abuja zone with 13.33% while Jos zone ahd Kaduna zones came 3rd with 12.00% each and Sokoto zone and Uyo recorded the lowest with 2.67% each.
5 Advertisement: Abuja zone recorded highest with 24.43% followed by Enugu zone with 16.40% while Maiduguri zone recorded lowest with 1.53%.
6 Technical Breach: Maiduguri zone recorded highest with 31.81%, followed by Benin zone and Sokoto zone recorded same scores 22.73% each and Abuja zone, Enugu zone and Jos zone recorded lowest with 4.54% each.
7 Fines: Abuja zone recorded highest with 47.17%, Ibadan zone came second with 15.09% and Benin came 3rd with 13.22% while the lowest was Enugu Zone with 1.89%.
May we seize this opportunity to caution stations about a pattern of behavior, which we must mention is a threat to our democracy and the rule of law. Our monitoring activities indicate that some stations, especially AIT, are deliberately meddling in the cases before the election tribunal, it is trite knowledge that the media cannot comment on or discuss the details of any matter in court. The Broadcast Code in section 1.16.1(f) requires all broadcasters to comply with the law of contempt relating to matters pending before the law courts.
AIT has defied all action to ensure that the station complies with the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. In the last few months, our monitoring reports indicate that AIT has continued to air programmes that dwell on the on-going case of the presidential elections, and issues relating to matters in law courts, without regards to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and extant laws.
On Monday 19th August to Sunday August 25, 2019, the station aired different documentaries centered on matters before the 2019 Presidential Election Tribunal; the action was prejudicial and could be termed contempt of court.
Specifically, on Monday 19th August, 2019 a documentary titled “Who is Nigeria” was aired between 10:00pm to 10:47pm. It centered on how the former provinces of Northern Cameroun became a Nigerian enclave. Track ups were given to some respondents who made statements like “Atiku is indeed a Nigerian”. This came a day after the APC had asked the Presidential Election tribunal to strike out Atiku/PDP petition on the basis of Section 131(a) of the Nigerian Constitution, which mandates that a presidential candidate must be Nigerian by birth.
On Tuesday 20th August, 2019 between 10:00pm to 11:00pm, AIT aired another documentary titled “The Many Troubles of INEC: A Documentary on Mahmood Yakubu and the chequered Road to 2019”. This documentary contained an allegation that the 2019 Presidential Election was marred by a well-organised manipulation, violence and intimidations. It alleged that some actions taken by INEC were premeditated and schemed to favour the APC. It ended with Atiku’s petition seeking relief to be declared winner of the 2019 Presidential election on the nullification of the election.
Then on Wednesday 21st August, 2019, from 10:00pm to 10:36pm, a similar documentary on “Who is a Nigerian” was also broadcast. References were made to how some communities, like Daura Emirate, were allegedly formerly part of Niger Republic, and have now become part of Nigeria. It queried what becomes of persons whose citizenship has been declared to be non-Nigerian. The program also appeared to promote the cause of the proscribed IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) saying their agitation is legitimate, under the United Nation Charter on Universal Declaration of Human and People’s Rights.
Again, on Thursday 22nd August, 2019 between 10:00pm and 10:30pm, there was a repeat of the documentary “Nigerian Judiciary on Trial: Lessons from Kenya” first aired on 23rd May 2019, and for which the station was warned.
On Friday 23rd August, 2019 another documentary “INEC and the Agony of a Nation” started and ended after one minute; a documentary on Akwa Ibom was taken instead.
Similarly, on Saturday 24th August, 2019 the same documentary on INEC and the Agony of a Nation was fully aired and it made assertions that “manipulations” of 2019 Presidential Election, have not only disrupted democratic consolidation in Nigeria but have robbed the people of their fundamental right to make choices. The current INEC Chairman Prof. Yakubu Mahmood’s tenure was also described as the worst in the history of INEC.
Again, on Sunday 25th August, 2019 another documentary was aired with “INEC and Qualification Requirements. The facts, The Issues” from 10:40pm to 10:56pm. The documentary called on the court, as the last hope of the common man, to correct INEC’s mistake of allowing an allegedly “unqualified Buhari” to contest election.
On Monday 26th August 2019 another documentary on the “INEC and Qualification Requirements: The Facts, the Issues” was aired.
The station management was invited for a discussion at the NBC headquarters on 5th September, 2019, over their flagrant disregard of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and consenting court settlement, between the regulator and licensee, from July, 2018. This was borne out of the station’s repeated airing of various offending documentaries, and a persistent pattern of discussing matters pending in court.
Inspite of this effort, on 10th September, 2019 during the highlight of the News hour, there was a Vox Pop taken that centered on the outcome of the Presidential Election judgment. The standpoint of the station was clear from what the newscaster said, “Residents of Enugu State, South East Nigeria express concern on the inability of the Nation’s Judiciary to serve justice to the people”. They already questioned the judgment of the tribunal before it was declared, even when they know that there should be no comments on any matter that is before the law court.
Sections of the Code breached:
Section 1.16.1(f): The law of contempt, relating to matter pending before law court’s and
Section 5.1.12 News and current affairs programme shall be guided by the ethical standards of journalism.
Consequent to all these, as I indicated earlier, the Commission held a meeting with the management of Daar Communications on September 5, 2019.
The discussion at the meeting was about the breach of the Court Agreement entered between the NBC and AIT and the documentaries that centered on a matter already pending in court. Inspite of the meeting, on September 11, 2019 and September 23, 2019, AIT broadcast the statement of a certain Imo Ugochinyere of an outfit called CUPP. The short clip shows the said Imo Ugochinyere “ rejecting” the Election Tribunal Judgment that upheld the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari, in the 2019 General Elections.
This clip was laced with spurious claims; it lacked of objectivity and fairness; it was inciting and it made impartial statements.
Below is the transcription.
“The opposition Coalition, CUPP receives with shock the judgment of the Presidential Election Tribunal delivered today, upholding the election of President Muhammadu Buhari, we reject and I repeat the opposition rejects it totally and view it as law turned upside down and an insult and provocation on Nigerian people, from the totality of the judgment delivered here today, the court of Appeal has lost the rare opportunity presented to it by the petition of the consensus candidate, Atiku Abubakar to put an end to electoral fraud, leadership incompetence and imposition of an unfit leader on the people. By this judgments today, majority of Nigerians who have believed though erroneously that the judiciary was indeed independent have been brazen awaken to the fact and correct belief that the Presidency has successfully hijacked the judiciary and Nigeria can only expect judgment not justice.
Today’s judgment is a manipulation of the law and the brazen use of technicality to stamp injustice, rob the people of justice and deny the nation the chance to have a leader that they truly elected in the person of Atiku Abubakar. The nation weeps today, Africa is crying and the International community is in shock. Our brothers who have been held shock by poverty, banditry, killed daily are now in coma as the Appeal Court have used todays judgment to deny them a savior as foisted on them a leader who was not eligible for Presidential office a leader who does not have the capacity to govern, a leader who rode on the blood of our people to power using security agencies, a leader who employs divisive weapon and ethnicity in governance and a leader who claims to be fighting corruption but dinning and sleeping with men known to be corrupt. The nation is the loser today, not Atiku Abubakar or the opposition, today judges of the Appeal Court have said that Nigerians don’t need to present their certificate or attach their credentials while seeking for public office what a shame.
Nigeria may need more than a decade to repair the damage been done by this government to the very fabrics of our nationhood. However, as lawful citizens and apostles of rule of law, we wish to announce to Nigerians not to lose hope because our candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is heading to the Supreme Court for a final appeal to reclaim the peoples mandate given to him. We cannot take the law into our hands hence, we will approach the Supreme Court deligently represent our case and believe that the justices of the Supreme Court will had solace in the fact their name will be written in gold and in the sands of time when they do the right thing and do justice, bringing the reign of Buhari a reign of impunity incompetence and stolen mandate to an end.
- The constant repetition of the broadcast meant that AIT was being deliberately mischievous since it blatantly refused to heed the observations and warnings of the regulatory institution.
- They also intentionally refused to tell the other side of this judgment.
- The clip portrayed security agencies as an apparatus of violence for the presidency
- The station also portrayed the judiciary, an independent arm of government, as a common tool being used by the executive.
- These actions of AIT are in contravention of Sections 1.3.4, 3.3.1a, 3.3.1b, 3.11.1, 3.11.2 and 5.1.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
Given the issues involved and the blatant refusal to abide by the provisions of the NB Code and extant laws, I made the effort to reach the leaders of the Nigeria Press Organization (NPO), who had intervened between the NBC and DAAR Communications Plc, when we withdrew their license, in June, 2019. We have also seen several Twitter postings and other materials on several social media platforms, accusing the National Broadcasting Commission, of an inability to reign-in AIT, in its persistent breaches of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. I want to assure Nigerians, that we do not relate with any of our licensees, OUTSIDE of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Consequently, we are constrained to warn AIT, that its continued willful disregard for regulation and persistent breaches of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, will be met with the very severe sanctions that the new, SIXTH EDITION of THE CODE has prescribed. We also want the Nigerian people to know that the National Broadcasting Commission has given AIT enough opportunity to walk the straight and narrow path of compliance with the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. It would unfortunately be the architect of its own fate, if it persists with the breaches of the instrument of regulation of the Nigerian broadcasting industry. And that is the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.