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.
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.