BON Chairman Challenges Broadcasters To Be Balanced, Objective And Fair

BON Chairman Challenges Media Operators On Greater Transparency, Accountability
BON Chairman, Mr John Momoh


The Chairman of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Mr John Momoh, has challenged media operators in the country, especially broadcasters to be more transparent in the course of their duties.

Mr Momoh, who is also the Chairman/CEO of Channels Media Group, said this on Wednesday while addressing BON 69th General Assembly in Lagos State.

“Greater transparency and accountability are much needed in the current climate of misinformation, political lies and widespread distrust.

“In the social and political circumstance that we live in, the broadcaster should strive to be a medium of moderation, in such a way as to relay information with decorum, with a logic of perspective, and to be dispassionate in news reporting,” he said.

READ ALSOJohn Momoh Addresses BON General Assembly [FULL TEXT]

The BON chairman noted that the rules and codes of practice of journalism had already highlighted balance, objectivity, and fairness as some of the key requirements in the profession.

He said that although the operators have a general understanding of these values; some keep them while others drop the ball in some cases.

As Nigeria steps into another critical time in its political life, Momoh urged the broadcasters to perform their roles creditably and professionally.

He also warned them to give careful thought to how content is being created, to avoid discrimination, lack of understanding, misinformation, intolerance and conflict.

He said, “There are several examples of where literal work or media content has been a source of great human conflict. There are also many examples of how a misguided broadcast has caused upheaval in societies, just because due regard for the rights or wishes of others have not been considered.

“We cannot also overstate our obligations as broadcasters, either in the moral or in the constitutional sense. In all the dimensions, the charge before us is not only very clear but also onerous, which is why we cannot afford to shirk our responsibilities.”

The Channels Media Group boss stressed further that the occurrence of hate speech cannot be undermined, with the growing influence of social media and its likely role in the forthcoming elections.

Momoh described hate speech as a great threat to national cohesion which can only be rivalled by physical harm, through maiming, and killings.

Some of the other speakers at the event are the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, as well as distinguished broadcaster and diplomat, Dr Christopher Kolade.

Professor Yakubu gave an insight into the preparations for the coming elections as it relates to the media, while Dr Kolade focused on hate speech in the build-up to the 2019 polls.

AfricaCom 2017: John Momoh Challenges Broadcasters To Explore Global Trends

John Momoh

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, has challenged mainstream broadcasters to become more inclusive, embrace new technology, and build talent networks.

He made the call on Tuesday at the 2017 AfricaCom Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, where players in Africa’s media and technology industry met to discuss the continent’s tech realities as well as the challenges and opportunities they present.

“The local has become global and global, local. The responsibility of the broadcaster has increased immensely, meaning that we must now be very progressive and proactive in meeting the challenges of this responsibilities,” Mr Momoh, who was the Keynote Speaker at the event, said.

He spoke on the topic ‘New Thinking, Respect And Vision For Professional Broadcasting’, stressing that service and not content is now king.

Mr Momoh is also hopeful that broadcasters and other industry players at the conference will seize the opportunity it provides to “explore new ways of doing business and create opportunities for effective professional collaborations”.

“It has become such a small world and we can seize the opportunity of what technology presents to us and use it as a leverage for all broadcasters,” he added.

The Editor-In-Chief of Stuff Magazine, Mr Toby Shapshak, on his part, highlighted Africa’s increasing influence and potential.

“Africa, as you know, is the fastest growing region in the world, second only in size to Asia, and there are still challenges and massive opportunities,” he said.

Also, at the event, a panel of broadcasting experts looked at the role and challenges of public broadcasting in an evolving African digital landscape.

“Public service broadcasting has been behaving like subsistence farmers where you produce for your own consumption,” a former Chief Executive Officer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Mr Phil Molefe, said.

According to him, the challenge facing broadcasting doubles as an opportunity.

“The opportunity is (that) we must create top quality, compelling content that can travel, that can be distributed, (and) that can be exported,” Mr Molefe said.

As part of efforts to encourage professional collaboration, Mr Joel Churcher of BBC Worldwide told participants at the conference that his organisation has found ways to protect programmers.

“Essentially, if you are a young production company and you come to a public broadcaster with an idea, you keep that idea if it is broadcast under the pact agreement,” he said.

The AfricaCom Conference is one of Africa’s largest telecoms, media and technology gatherings. It is said to be the place to shape Africa’s digital future.