From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has told media practitioners not to be a mere mouthpiece for any interest group or groups in the country.

This was even as NBC said it was cautious of the harm fake news, hate speech and unprofessional broadcast has cost societies, saying that media practitioners must be extremely cautious of the contents they put out.

The Director-General of the NBC, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, stated this during a media parley yesterday in Abuja.

Ilelah noted that media practitioners enjoyed a privileged position, with special access to protagonists and decision-makers, and has a duty to ask questions that listeners and viewers and society need answers to.

Ilelah however said media practitioners should critically report the words and actions of both sides, subjecting them to critical analysis and exposing what is false or threatening to society and its freedoms.

‘The practitioner should never be a mere mouthpiece for any interest group or groups. He or she should critically report the words and actions of both sides, subjecting them to critical analysis and exposing what is false or threatening to society and its freedoms,’ Ilelah said.

Ilelah further said in conveying the professional requirements, the NBC went around four geo-political zones in the country to meet with Chief Executive Officers, Broadcast Stations Licensees, and General Managers to re-emphasise the need for professionalism in their daily broadcast.

‘We know the harm fake news, hate speech and unprofessional broadcast have cost societies. We must be extremely cautious of the contents we put out there.

‘The National Broadcasting Commission prides itself on professionalism, efficiency and integrity in fulfilling its mandate as a regulator,’ Ilelah also said.

Ilelah also noted the provisional broadcast license granted to 159 companies, institutions and communities by President Muhammadu Buhari to operate radio and television in the country.

He added that with the Digital Switch Over (DSO), there will be over 200 channels and probably over a thousand organised production outfits looking to feed them with content.

‘All these will require infrastructure investment, in production destinations, with studios, graphic and sound hubs etc. At the end of it all, we would have created millions of jobs,’ Ilelah added.

Ilelah however called on newly acquired licensees to endeavour to pay their license fees as requested by law before the due dates to avoid penalties.

He added that for already established broadcasting stations owing license renewal fees, NBC is putting them on notice that they have until February 17, 2022, to pay their debts or have their licence withdrawn and reallocated to prospective licensees.

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Source: news