The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has applauded the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for sanctioning three broadcast media stations in the country it adjudged to have violated the broadcasting code in reporting the #EndSARS protests.
It said this in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke.
The BMO said sanctioning the media houses that breached extant regulatory guidelines and contributed to the escalation of the crisis with the attendant loss of lives, sends a strong and unambiguous message to the broadcast industry in Nigeria.
The statement said, “There can be no justification for Channels Television, Arise TV, and AIT to transmit footage obtained from unverified and unauthenticated social media sources.
“This amateurish conduct by these indicted stations not only fell short of professional expectations, by their conduct they incited the youth to more violent behaviour.
“They helped create a self-serving justification for the humungous looting spree that gripped many parts of the country.
“We commend the NBC for exercising obvious and strong regulatory surveillance over the broadcast industry and encourage the Commission to continue in this line.”
The BMO noted that by holding the broadcast stations liable for their breach of the code emanating from the use of material from User Generated Sources was not good enough.
“The NBC has sent out a signal that broadcast journalism requires a high sense of social responsibility by Practitioners.
“The stations were expected to place truthfulness at the core of their professional judgment.
“We commend the management of NBC for coming out to enforce the national broadcasting code with a sense of urgency and fairness, and without fear or favour.
“By this action, it has reassured the Nigerian public that the national airwaves will not degenerate into a jungle affair where unverified and inciting footages, or the half-truths peddled by demagogues are permitted on national television, to inflame passions in the country,” the statement said.
The statement also said that the NBC sanctions are appropriate and timely. Media gatekeepers have an added responsibility, especially in times of crisis, to validate the news and footages they transmit to the public.
“This is more so for the broadcast industry which has over the years enjoyed a high level of credibility among the public as an authoritative and reliable purveyor of information.
“By not sanctioning these erring broadcast stations, NBC would be abetting the festering of a culture of impunity and professional laxity in a critical media platform.” It stated
The organisation urged the sanctioned broadcast stations to accept their punishment in good faith and toe the path of professional rectitude and social responsibility.
“The media have a role to de-escalate tension and promote peace and national harmony.
“It is not out of place to remind the management of Channels Television, Arise TV, and AIT of the age-long journalistic ethos–verify and double-check all news before airing; and when in doubt, leave out, do not air or share.
“We also firmly believe that this courageous decision of NBC will nudge the Nigerian broadcast industry to an era of responsible editorial decision-making and regulatory conformity.
“It will ultimately improve public confidence in the broadcast media and justify the faith and privileges invested in the media by the framers of our National Constitution.” the statement added
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#EndSARS: Buhari Media Organisation Lauds NBC For Sanctioning Channels, AIT, Arise News