NBC plans law on hate campaign, others at polls
The Director, Broadcast Monitoring of the NBC, Chris Okoyomo, who spoke at a political forum in Lokoja, against the backdrop of allegations that the commission compromised by staying aloof while a lot of hate speeches and campaign of calumny were going on, said the commission had no specific law against that.
He said the commission would strengthen laws to take care of such issues. “There was no role for the NBC as far as hate speeches were concerned. It is the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC that ought to control the conduct of politicians. As a director of monitoring we did not find sufficient grounds to stop some of these things.
“If you don’t have it in black and white, it is not enforceable because hate message is not provided for in our code. We are however, working out specific provision to deal with hate messages. Now that the matter is in court, when the court rules we would have a direction.”
He said when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was called a clueless President and the other allegations that he was sponsoring Boko Haram, the commission could not jump in to act.
He added that when President Buhari was also maligned and called all sorts of names, the NBC also could not do anything. “The people decided and Buhari was elected in spite of all the name-calling and hate speeches.”
He said NBC couldn’t stop any politician from showcasing his own character, adding that it is up to the political parties to fine-tune their modus of campaign.
The director predicted that in 2019 there would be more of the hate speeches and mudslinging however; he said the courts are there for those who feel maligned to take their grievances to.
He harped on the fact that even in preventing hate messages broadcasters should not do it to the extent it would look as if political parties are being censored or gagged.