In a quest to maintain sanity and curtail electoral tension and incitement among the electorates during and after the exercise, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has cautioned broadcasting stations across the nation to desist from declaring unverified election results.
The Commission noted that such power is only within the jurisdiction of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It further ordered all broadcasting stations to end all partisan political programmes by 11:59 pm on Thursday 23 February, 2023.
NBC gave the order through its Director of Broadcast Monitoring, Francisca Aiyetan, who reiterated that stations can announce the result only after a formal announcement of the results has been made by the electoral umpire himself.
The broadcasting regulator, while reaffirming how stringent the order is, charged all broadcasters not to flaunt the order. It, therefore, challenged them to ensure adherence to the ethics and codes of the commission by stopping every commercial on their stations 24 hours prior to election day.
“The National Broadcasting Commission wishes to underscore the enormous responsibility trust on Broadcasters at this period and therefore calls for strict adherence to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act in order to ensure a sane airwave that will enable a free, fair, credible and transparent Election,” NBC said.
Also, as a part of a reminder, the Commission enjoined broadcasters to note, for full compliance, the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“The Broadcaster shall ensure that the broadcast of a partisan political campaign, jingle, announcement, and any form of partisan party identification or symbol ends not later than twenty-four hours before polling day;
“In exceptional circumstances, a government functionary may perform a service relating to his office within 24 hours campaign restriction period, provided there is no coloration of partisanship by the official or the broadcaster.”
It also stated that no station is allowed to broadcast any political campaign or advertisement on its facilities 24 hours preceding polling day or on polling day.
“The Broadcaster shall not use any vote obtained at a polling station or from exit poll, to project or speculate on the chances of a candidate. The Broadcaster shall relay Election Results or declaration of the winner only as announced by the authorised Electoral Officer for the election.”