The Federal Government yesterday accused some broadcast media organisations of lending their platforms to some disgruntled elements whose stock-in- trade is to promote hatred and disunity among Nigerians.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this in his keynote address at the opening of the 75th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Kano.
“At a time that our nation is facing a big challenge of insecurity and threats to national unity, divisive and hate messages as well as misinformation being peddled by certain broadcast media constitute a great risk,” he said.
The minister represented by Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Mr. Balarabe Shehu Illelah, said: “Apart from during the civil war, I cannot think of any other time in our nation’s history that the role of the media in general, and the broadcast media in particular, has been more important in dousing tension and forging national cohesion.
He, therefore, called on broadcast organizations to continue to leverage on their power and reach to foster national unity and development.
“Anyone who doubts the double-edged power of the broadcast media to foster national unity or trigger disharmony should read about the role of a broadcast station,” he said.
He noted that broadcasting is a powerful tool, and has a great role to play in fostering national unity and development.
Adding that if used wrongly, it can also be a tool for disunity, divisiveness and disharmony, all of which are inimical to development.
“Let us therefore, resolve to use our platforms to serve both public and national interest, rather than the interest of a few hay sayers and agents of destabilisation. Let us harness the power of broadcasting to inform, educate and entertain our people in a positive way. Let us deny deadenders the use of our various platforms. Let us remember that it is because we have a country that we can have broadcast stations.
“We are not asking you to shut out those who are critical of government or those who have opposing views. All we are saying is that agents of disunity, divisiveness, misinformation and hate should not be allowed to use private and public broadcast stations to achieve their goals,” he added.
The Minister commended BON members for the great role they played, and are still playing, in sensitizing Nigerians and providing them with life-saving information on COVID-19, the deadly virus that has killed close to five million people worldwide and infected over 200 million people.
He said the Federal Government would continue to partner with BON, considered to be a reliable ally, to keep the people adequately informed of the activities of government, and also in the successful implementation of key projects like the Digital Switch Over.
The theme of the General Assembly is Broadcasting: Between public interest and national interest’.