INEC Chairman, Kolade parley as BON stakeholders meet

Members of Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria and converged in Lagos for a 2~day 69th General Assembly.

The event which kicked start on Tuesday 2nd of May 2018 was honoured by major stakeholders in Nigeria Broadcasting industry is the 69th edition of it’s kind and was themed “the role of the media in the Nigeria electoral process.In his address to flag off the event, it’s Chairman, Mr Momoh asked media operators to be more transparent in the course of their duties as they are preparing for the 2019 general election.

Welcoming the delegates to the event,  he reminded the gathering that the event is in pursuant to their annual review and reflective agenda as he charged the B.O.N to build on the gains from last year’s meeting and get set to face the challenges of digital era.

He asserted that BON has come a long way as the organization is progressing steadily, albeit with measured steps while her role in the shaping of public opinion continues to be very significant.

He said; 

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.

Meanwhile, the significance of the event is underscored by the calibre of our keynote speakers. The highly respected Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, who delivered speech on “The Nigerian Broadcast Media and the 2019 elections” and the eminent and distinguished broadcaster, corporate titan and diplomat Dr Christopher Kolade, who addressed the gathering on “Hate Speech, the 2019 elections, and the Nigerian Media”.

The chosen topics are timely and  reflective of our contemporary social and political agenda.

Professor Yakubu gave an insight into the preparations for the 2019 elections, and the role of the broadcast media, with a view to reminding public of the intricacies of the electioneering process, as well as expanding its understanding. He, however, gave details of what the Commission has being doing over the years since it’s operation in pre~1999 General election that herald the fourth Republic. He reiterated the significance of media in helping the electoral process by keeping to the ethics of journalism by fair reportage in under not to undermine or subverting the process. He sought the collaboration of the media in voters education and literacy.

Dr. Kolade’s who focused on Hate speech” described it as a great threat to national cohesion, and can only be rivalled by physical harm, through maiming, and killings.

With the growing influence of social media and its likely role in the elections, we cannot undermine the occurrence of hate speech. It is therefore important for the broadcaster to be cautious, as their role can make or mar the process and the consequences.

IHe further reasoned that Inthe 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 the logic of perspective, and to be dispassionate in news reporting.  He, however, reminder the practitionees to abide by rules and codes of practice, could be summarized as balance, objectivity, or fairness.

We have a general understanding of these values; don’t we? Sometimes we keep them, other times we drop the ball. So, as we step into another critical time in our nation’s political life, we have to perform our roles creditably and professionally.

Careful thought should now be given to how we create content because, without that, we could create reasons for discrimination, lack of understanding, misinformation, intolerance and conflict. 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. As broadcasters, we could do more to support greater media literacy among the public, by explaining the complex world we now live in, as well as better explain how we report it and arrive at our own news judgements.

Greater transparency and accountability are much needed in the current climate of misinformation, political lies and widespread distrust. But, above all, the strength of the broadcaster’s case to “trust us, not them” will lie in sharp, confident, fair reporting.

That means journalism that is differentiated; journalism that breaks from the pack; one that is clearly in touch with public concerns and attitudes, and that which is confident in holding the powerful to account and calling out lies or spin.

The Deputy of Governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Idiat Adebule who represented the Governor appreciated the role of media as the key element critical to the growth of nation in emerging Democracy. She, however, appreciated the choice of Lagos State for this 69th General Assembly of the B.O.N as she urged the media on best practice as we are looking to the General election. She there after declared the B.O.N General Assembly opened.

Among the dignaties that honoured to the occasion are INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakub, Chief Christopher Kolade, Lagos State Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan, owners and stakeholders of Broadcasting industries among others.

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