The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said it has sanctioned 25 stations for contravening the Nigeria Broadcasting Code during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.

The Director-General of the NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, disclosed these at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja. According to him, the Commission also served warning letters to 16 other erring stations. He, however, did not name the affected broadcast stations and the nature of the sanction. 

According to Ilelah, some of the stations allowed their platforms to be used by guests, callers, and analysts to score unhealthy political points inimical to the country’s corporate existence. He cautioned broadcast stations to be professional in the discharge of their duties. 

Partisan content: While noting that some of the stations were sanctioned for allowing partisan content on their channel during the elections, the NBC DG said: 

  • “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 broadcasting partisan content during the 24 hours before the elections. One station was sanctioned for announcing results before the 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.” 

Warning ahead of March 18: Ilelah cautioned broadcasters against violating the code during the governorship and Houses of Assembly elections on March 18. 

  • “The Commission re-emphasizes 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 a candidate’s chances. 
  • “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, however, commended the media for the very positive role they play in the society, particularly in the democratic process and in national development.