BON threatens to shut biased radio, TV stations

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Executive Secretary of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Olaleye, has threatened to shut down any broadcasting station that fails to give equal airtime to all political parties to air their views during electioneering in 2015, reports Punch.

Olaleye gave the warning on Wednesday during a workshop organised by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with Democratic Governance for Development.

The workshop has the theme: Promoting the Role of Broadcast Professionals and Practitioners in peaceful free and fair elections.

He noted that during electioneering campaigns, some government and privately owned television and radio stations had formed the habit of tactically denying opposition parties the opportunity to present their views to the electorate.

Olaleye said, “It will be proper to allow all political parties to air their views, some broadcasting stations don’t want opposition to come and use their medium. It happens both in government and private stations. There should be equal airtime for all political parties to run their jingles during electioneering campaigns as long as it is not abusive.

“Any station that does not follow laid down rules will be indicted and fined, or close down and that is going to happen in 2015. We have sent letters to governors to notify them of these laws.

“Our role as broadcasters and as gatekeepers is to ensure that we entrench democracy in Nigeria and everybody is given equal opportunity to present their case before the electorate so that the electorate can now take their decision.”

Also speaking, the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Mohammed Garba called for collaboration among stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure successful conduct of the 2015 general elections.

Garba, who was represented by the Senior Assistant National Secretary of NUJ, Mr. Gbenga Bamidele, said, “As broadcasters and journalist we have lots of responsibilities particularly as it concerns the forthcoming general elections and we must ensure that we are not bias in our reporting of issues.”

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