Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has accused broadcast stations of politicising the lockdown, social distancing order and palliative programme by the Federal Government to curb COVID-19 in the country.
Acting Director-General of the NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, said in a statement that it was appalling to note that some broadcasters air one-sided reports of events without observing the professional ethics of balance and fairness.
He, however, commended broadcasters for the far-reaching sensitisation of the general public and coverage of efforts towards containing the pandemic.
“The Commission has observed with dismay, that the social distancing order, necessary lockdown and palliative intervention programme of the Federal Government are being politicized by some broadcast stations. It is more appalling to note that some broadcasters air one sided reports of events without observing the professional ethics of balance and fairness.
“We draw, your attention to the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code please:
“5.4.1: The Broadcaster shall at all times, ensure that the coverage of a disaster or crisis is aimed at the overall public interest, guidance and safety.
“5.4.3: In reporting conflict (emergency) situation, the broadcaster shall perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality.
“3.3.1: The Broadcaster shall: a. Ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate; b. Ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance; c. Be above inherent biases, prejudices and subjective mindsets; 4.1.1: The Broadcaster shall ensure that: a. Panelists in a discussion programme reflect the various viewpoints; b. Panelists are of comparable status and relevance,” the NBC said.
The NBC further said broadcasters in the country were by the statement warned to desist from the unfortunate trend or face penalty.