By Salisu Sani-Idris, Abuja.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned 25 stations for contravening the Nigeria Broadcasting Code during the Feb. 26 presidential and National Assembly elections.
It served warning letters to 16 other erring stations.
Its Director-General, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, made these known at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said some of the stations allowed their platforms to be used by guests, callers, and analysts to score unhealthy political points inimical to the corporate existence of the country.
He cautioned broadcast stations to be professional in the discharge of their duties.
“Prior to and during the recently-concluded presidential and National Assembly elections, the Commission sanctioned 25 broadcast stations.
“Sixteen others were given final warnings over contravention of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“Seventeen stations received sanctions for broadcast of partisan content during the 24 hours prior to election.
“One station was sanctioned for announcing result before authorised returning officers made them public, while three stations were sanctioned for inciting comments.
“Four stations were sanctioned for divisive, ethnic and religious content, while 16 stations were given final warnings for various infringements,’’ he said.
Ilelah cautioned broadcasters against the violation of the code during the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections coming up on March 18.
“The Commission re-emphasises that as the gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly elections approach, all broadcasters must adhere strictly to the provisions of the code.
“They must also adhere to the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004.
“The code admonishes broadcasters to ensure that the broadcast of a political campaign, jingle, announcement and any other form of partisan identification or symbol ends not later than 24 hours before polling day.
“It states that any vote obtained at a polling station or from an exit poll should not be used to project or speculate on the chances of a candidate.
“Very importantly, it states that election results or declaration of winner can only be made by the authorised electoral officer for the election.
“Broadcasters shall be responsible for the content of the station’s broadcast,’’ Ilelah said.
He commended the media for the very positive role they play in the society, particularly in the democratic process and in national development.