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Sanctions On Broadcast Stations Not Media Gag – NBC Clarifies

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… as journalists urge incoming govt to partner media on anti-corruption

Against the growing concern by stakeholders that press freedom in Nigeria is threatened by broadcast regulations, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) says its disciplinary measures and sanctions on erring broadcasting stations are not aimed at gagging the media.

NBC’s Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, clarified during PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, an anti-corruption radio programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.

Represented by the agency’s Director, Public Affairs, Susan Obi, revealed that imposition of sanctions on broadcast stations is not done hastily but requires a rigorous procedure and steps, insisting that the main aim has never been to gag the Nigerian media space but to get all stakeholders to play by the rules.

Obi said the functions of the Commission were not just set up by NBC but were agreed on by broadcast stakeholders while urging the media to take responsibility for ensuring credibility and balancing their duties.

She said NBC could contribute to Nigeria’s fight against corruption by ensuring that broadcast stations have programs or content that are authentic, that have been thoroughly investigated, and balanced contents.

Dismissing insinuations that NBC is contracting press freedom in the country with sanctions, Obi said: “NBC does not just sanction. There are procedures for sanctioning. They are even formal procedures because we are concise with decisions. There are letters given, letters of caution, and letters of warning before the sanction we all talk about, which is the fine.

 “Broadcasting is supposed to help the people make informed decisions, make informed choices. Because of the function of the Commission, stations, on their own set agenda, have their content, but the Commission does not determine the station’s content.

“In the fight against corruption, how NBC can help is to ensure that the stations have programs or content that are authentic, that have been thoroughly investigated, that is why the Commission asks that there should be different sides and opinions being expressed,” She stressed.

On his part, Editor-in-Chief of Forefront Magazine and Online, Amos Dunia, questioned the legality of NBC sanctions, saying that it was founded on faulty grounds and had made NBC act as both complainant/prosecutor and the judge in sanctioning media houses.

Dunia called on the Nigerian government to be less combative against the media but work with them, particularly in the fight against corruption. He, however, stressed that journalists and the entirety of the media industry are doing their best in their role as enshrined in the constitution.

He lamented the dwindling fortunes of investigative journalism as journalists face attacks, adding that the government’s reluctance to react and act appropriately on corruption cases was worsening the issues.

“Government must understand that the media is the oxygen needed for democracy to thrive. And as long as the media must exist and work, the government should be less combative against the press. They should be able to listen more to the media and ensure that they carry the media along in the fight against corruption. You see, once corruption can be minimized. I’m not saying you can eliminate corruption totally. It’s pretty difficult to do because you are dealing with human minds. As long as corruption can be minimized, you have more development.

“The bottom line is that the government should see the media as partners in progress in governance,” Dunia said.

Advising the incoming administration on strengthening the fight against corruption, Kabir Yusuf, a Premium Times reporter, urged the government first to see the media not as a competitor but as a partner.

 Yusuf stressed that anti-corruption agencies that are charged with the responsibility of fighting corruption must collaborate with the media while lamenting that journalists are facing a new form of attack by state actors.

“Government and the media can work together. There is no way a democracy like ours can develop and grow without the media playing its crucial role. I believe the government can work together with the media,” He stressed.

An investigative report by Premium Times exposed that media houses are tightening their digital security measures out of concerns that new spy technologies have exposed journalists to even more significant threats of surveillance and harassment.

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program PRIMORG uses to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.

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Pre-COP Conference reinforces Nigeria’s role as global climate leader – Tinubu’s aide

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Joel Ajayi Comrade Yussuf Kelani, the recently appointed Special Assistant to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Climate Change Matters, attended the UNFCCC SB60 Pre-COP conference.

As a former President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and a dedicated environmental activist, Kelani’s presence at the conference marks a significant step in Nigeria’s climate action journey.

The Pre-COP conference brought together representatives from various nations and stakeholders in climate action and environmental sustainability from around the globe.

This pivotal event was held in preparation for the UNFCCC COP29, scheduled to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, in November 2024. The primary focus of the conference was to develop and refine the implementation framework for the global climate finance roadmap.

The year 2024 is set to be a landmark year for climate finance, with countries agreeing on a new global climate finance goal known as the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG). This goal is expected to be a crucial marker for a successful outcome at COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The NCQG aims to mobilize significant financial resources to support the climate needs and priorities of developing countries, including mitigation, adaptation, addressing loss and damage, and facilitating just transitions.

A key objective of the NCQG is to provide clarity on the public funding available for developing countries to implement their next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and adaptation plans, which are due by February 2025. At COP28, countries agreed to submit their NDCs 9-12 months ahead of COP30, highlighting the urgency and importance of these commitments.

Our participation in the SB60 Pre-COP conference underscored Nigeria’s proactive stance in global climate negotiations. Our involvement facilitated Nigeria’s engagement with global leaders, policymakers, and climate experts, enhancing collaborative efforts and reinforcing Nigeria’s commitment to climate action.

President Tinubu’s SA on Climate Change Matters highlighted that Nigeria’s active participation in the conference has yielded several benefits, including increased access to climate finance.

The discussions at the conference focused on securing substantial financial resources for developing nations through the NCQG. For Nigeria, this translates into enhanced funding for projects aimed at mitigation, adaptation, and resilience-building. These funds are crucial for Nigeria to achieve its climate targets and transition towards a low-carbon economy.

Another significant aspect of Nigeria’s participation in the SB60 Pre-COP conference was the emphasis on technological innovation and capacity building. Engaging with international experts and stakeholders allowed Nigeria to gain insights into the latest advancements in clean energy technologies, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable urban development. These insights are vital for driving domestic climate initiatives and ensuring that Nigeria leverages cutting-edge technologies to address its unique challenges.

The outcomes of the SB60 Pre-COP conference align closely with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s agenda for climate change and Nigeria’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Climate action is intricately linked to multiple SDGs, including those related to poverty eradication, food security, clean water, and sustainable cities. By advancing its climate agenda, Nigeria is simultaneously driving progress towards achieving these interconnected goals.

Investments in renewable energy, for instance, not only mitigate greenhouse gas emissions but also provide access to affordable and clean energy, fostering economic growth and reducing poverty. Similarly, sustainable agricultural practices enhance food security and promote responsible land use, contributing to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 15 (Life on Land). These integrated approaches ensure that climate action efforts also deliver socio-economic benefits, thereby promoting holistic development.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to leveraging these gains to implement effective and inclusive climate policies that benefit all Nigerians. Nigeria’s active engagement in global climate forums underscores its dedication to being a leader in climate action and a champion of sustainable development.

As posted on the Facebook page of Comrade Kelani Yussuf,
Special Assistant to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Climate Change Matters

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