I will work closely with NBC to promote media freedom – Malagi

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, has assured Nigerians that he will work closely with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to promote media freedom and dissemination of accurate information.

“I am committed to working closely with the NBC to foster environment that promotes media freedom, dissemination of accurate and unbiased information,” he said.

Malagi stated this Tuesday during a working visit to the NBC headquarters in Abuja.

The minister advised NBC to step up its public enlightenment campaign to educate Nigerians on its activities so that it will not be seen as a body that is only interested in sanctioning broadcasting stations.

“The Director General mentioned something very critical which I agree with. He said NBC is not just about sanctions, I agree with him absolutely. 

“Anytime NBC is on the news it is about one station or the other committed one form of infraction or the other. Members of the public only hear about the NBC when there are sanctions to be made. 

“I think beyond that, we need to do a lot of enlightenment. I think that public communication in this regard is very low. You need to up it further so that people will really know what the roles of NBC are. The NBC needs to step up its public engagement so that people will realize that the NBC is not just about sanctions but that it is there to help the industry grow and reach its potentials. 

“It is only when you do that, that Nigerians will see you not from that punitive side but as a partner in progress.

“Broadcasting is not just a transmission of signals, it is about a transmission of ideas, of culture, of values. It shapes public opinion, influences social discuss and it also reflects the inherent diversity that we have as a nation,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Director General of NBC, Mallam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, said the commission issued warnings to 1,238 stations and penalised 62 others in 2023.

“During our monitoring activities, a total of 3,312 warnings were issued in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters of 2022 and 2023.

“In 2022,  a total of 125 stations were penalized. In 2023, a total of 1,238 warnings were given while during the same year 62 stations were penalised.”

Speaking further, Ilelah solicited for the support of the minister in the passage of a bill to regulate social media currently before the Senate in order to check the menace of fake news and misinformation.