MINISTER of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has directed the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to clampdown on inciting messages on radio and television.
Speaking during the inauguration of the newly constituted governing board of the NBC on Thursday, Mohammed said there was a need to step up the regulation of broadcast stations as the country approaches the 2023 elections.
“Please note that as we move closer to the 2023 general elections, the NBC will come under increasing pressure to step up its regulatory role,” he said.
The minister said the clampdown on inciting messages would prevent a repeat of what transpired before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
According to him, some television and radio stations threw caution to the wind and engaged in inciting, incendiary and unprofessional broadcasts during the said elections.
Mohammed noted that it was important for the NBC to ensure that broadcast stations adhere strictly to the tenets of the broadcasting code.
The NBC under the supervision of the minister had handed out fines to some radio and television stations for contravening the country’s broadcasting code.
Broadcast stations sanctioned by the NBC include Arise TV, Channels TV, AIT, and Nigeria Info.
The minister also urged the new NBC governing board to fast-track the implementation of the Federal Government’s Digital Switch Over (DSO).
“The most important task facing NBC today is to successfully transition the broadcast industry from analogue to digital broadcasting, through the Digital Switch Over (DSO) project. While the NBC is the implementing agency for this all-important project, a Ministerial Task Force on DSO, under my chairmanship, is driving the project,” he said.
The Federal Government launched the pilot phase of the DSO in Jos, Plateau State, on April 30, 2016.
Since then the DSO has been launched in the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara, Kaduna, Enugu, Osun, Lagos and Kano states.
However, the plan to fast-track the DSO in 2022 by launching it in at least two states every month has not been met.