I want to welcome you to the Headquarters of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). The last time we met with your team, we expressed our concern with the content of your political broadcasts. The examples from that engagement were several. What I recall was the contemptuous attitude of the presenter of the program. It was almost as if it was not worth his while to be invited by the regulator. But we made the point very clear, that the media, and especially the broadcast media, has a lot of responsibility to and for the General well-being of our country. On February 1st, it was exactly 41 years, that I commenced my professional life as a broadcaster and journalist. I think over these four decades, I have seen enough of our industry to be able to affirm a few facts.
Number one, is that our constitution affirms the media’s right to hold government accountable to the people. It is a position that I will always defend as the basis of our professional life. However, what has been the attitude of the RAYPOWER/AIT group over the period that I have been here as Director General, is a pattern of contempt for the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, and the basic tenets of objectivity and fairness, which are central to our ethics. You have persistently carried out an adversarial form of broadcasting that does not always offer the opportunity to air the other side of issues. And your POLITICAL PLATFORM program is more like political tittle-tattle by members of RAYPOWER staff, rather than a rigorous platform of engagement with the nation’s political process. And the pattern of choice of letters that you then read out are often only negative and patently biased.
Please let us remember that we must first of all have a country, before we can practice journalism or broadcast. And I have a duty to inform you that after today’s meeting, we will vigorously monitor your broadcasts more than hitherto. I want to assure you, as the regulatory institution, that NBC has the last word on your status. We don’t want to be forced to impose our regulatory order in a punitive manner; but if you push us in that direction, please be assured that we would do our duty as the broadcast regulator, and for our country. On a final note, this is not an attempt at censorship or an effort at muzzling you, nor an exercise at impugning your editorial responsibility. But it is important to remind you of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which remains the straight and narrow path that we must all walk.