Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Buhari regime will continue to dictate what media can report: NBC

The director-general said anyone that failed to abide by the law would be held accountable by the commission.

• August 30, 2021

Balarabe Ilelah, Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), vowed Monday that the Buhari regime will be guiding journalists and media houses on what to report and any outlets caught flouting the archaic broadcasting codes would be summoned to explain themselves.

“NBC is not here to suppress press freedom but to guide the press,” Mr Ilelah said. “Our duty is to make sure that everybody is given a fair playing ground so that you can say whatever you want to say that is according to the law.”

“We are going to keep on fighting people that are spreading fake news. The commission will not be scared and will keep on summoning anyone who goes contrary to NBC code,” Mr Ilelah said during a visit to his office by members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

Led by the NUJ president, Chris Isiguzo, the journalists said they had come to “interface with the commission” as “strategic state products in the Nigerian politic.” 

Mr Ilelah warned that media houses must “operate within the ambit of the law”, and that anyone found wanting “must be held accountable.”

According to him, “As leaders of your various reputable and responsible organisations, I want you to tell your members that nobody is above the law. All of us must live within the coverage of the law, and we must be held accountable.”

Mr Ilelah said the NBC mandate is to regulate and work with media houses to sanitise the industry and ensure that things are done according to the law.

Earlier, the NUJ president, while congratulating Mr Ilelah, said for democracy to thrive, the media must be allowed to operate without unnecessary encumbrances.

“That media must at all times operate without harassment, incessant harassment, intimidations, frequent queries, summons, arrests and what have you.

“We are not people that are fighting to bring down the country. The media professionals worked tirelessly to ensure that Nigeria became a democratic nation.

“Therefore, it will be unthinkable for anybody to begin to imagine that the same media will also be at the vanguard of ensuring that what it worked, fought and won, is at the same time destroyed,” he said.

The journalists asked NBC to grant them a licence to operate the NUJ radio and television.

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