Thirty nine days to the much-anticipated Anambra governorship election, the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has challenged media houses in the state to uphold decency and provide fair and equitable playing ground in their reportage of activities on the coming poll.
The Anambra gubernatorial election is billed for November sixth, 2021 and the NBC, Nigeria’s elite broadcast watchdog says, it is expecting all media houses in the state to show professionalism and eschew bias in their political broadcasts, in line with statutory guidelines for political media coverages in Nigeria.
Correspondent Daniel Ezeigwe reports that Sections five-three and seven-seven of the sixth edition of Nigerian Broadcast Code, draw attention to the do’s and don’t’s of political broadcasting, including broadcast materials bordering on news and current affairs programs and political adverts like campaign messages and announcements.
The one-day sensitization workshop, with the theme “Towards Achieving a Successful Election: The Need to Uphold Fair Play, Decency and Equity”, was attended by media executives and journalists from various media stations in Anambra State.
The workshop also reechoed the guidelines for broadcasters in the forthcoming election, including the timeframe legally allowed for partisan reportage, and directives for reporting campaign matters and other electoral issues as specified by the National Broadcast Commission Code.
Welcoming the participants, the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission, Mr Balarabe Ilelah, represented by the Director, Broadcast Monitoring, Mrs Franca Aiyetan, urged broadcasters to ensure that their platforms are not used to disseminate falsehood, fake news, hate or preach violence and other anti-social messages, noting that the broadcast media needs to be responsible in their coverages of all affairs.
In his goodwill message, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C-Don Adinuba, said that broadcasters owe it to conscience and professionalism to report the truth and should not keep silent in the name of neutrality, while desperate individuals chase their political goals at all costs.
In a presentation on “Achieving a Successful Election”, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Anambra State, Dr Nkwachukwu Orji, said that a good election must be anchored on clear and established electoral frameworks, existence of independent election management body and knowledgeable electorate, among others and made it clear that a conducive environment must exist for elections to thrive.
In her presentation, the NBC’s Director, Investigation and Enforcement, Mrs Susan Obi, called the attention of the broadcasters to relevant sections of the National Broadcasting Commission Code, sixth edition, especially the sections on political broadcast including voter sensitisation, fairness and balanced reportage.
Speaking on behalf of the media heads, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra Broadcasting Service, Dr Uche Nworah promised to re-train staff on the knowledge of NBC codes, but appealed to the commission to always engage in diplomacy instead of immediate sanctions whenever a media station errs.
In a vote of thanks, the Enugu Zonal Director of NBC, Mrs Ijeoma Theo-Obodo, said that she was counting on participants to maximize the information gained from the workshop in order to help the Commission serve better.
The workshop also provided an interactive session for the participants to share their opinions, ask relevant questions and get clarifications on the subject matter and related issues.