CISLAC Trains Journalists On Anti-Graft Reporting In Defence Sector

Mohammed Shosanya

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC),has trained journalists on effective reporting in the defence and security sector.

Senior Programme Person, Peace and Security CISLAC, Bertha Ogbimi during a one-day Media Dialogue on “Effective Oversight and Defence Anti Corruption Reportage” in Abuja, noted that the workshop is aimed at empowering journalists to effectively oversight the defence sector by asking the right questions to inform the public.

She explained that the workshop was also to know how to seek accountability and transparency in the sector where they fell short of best practices.

Ogbimi maintained that specialization would enable journalists to focus on specific aspects of the security sector, thereby enhancing their ability to uncover crucial information and hold relevant authorities accountable.

According to her, “Nigeria is bedevilled by multi dimensional security challenges and because of these, a lot of allocations have been launched into the defence and security sector.

”One would expect that normally, with the amount of monies being channelled to the defence and security sector, the issues pertaining to insecurity would have been addressed.

“However, unfortunately, we see an upsurge in these challenges. As a matter of fact, a particular area called conflict entrepreneurship is booming.

“So you begin to wonder, why are we getting a counter reaction when we are putting in so much money.

“Sometimes you get to talk with security personnel, and they tell you that they do not have what it takes to challenge armed opposition groups.”

She added that although a lot of money was allocated in the defence and security budgets and allocations but the welfare of security personnel has remained a challenge.

“So some questions need to be asked, because the money is our taxpayers money and so we need some answers.We are not saying that the security operations and procurements and the finances of security institutions should be made completely bare

“We recognize the fact that there is such a thing as natural security, we are all patriotic citizens, we cannot bare our military in the public.What are those information that are not detrimental to national security that could be made available for citizens to truly understand where their taxpayers monies are going?

Ogbimi said that given the fact that the insecurity kept increasing rather than reducing, it behoves of journalists to get answers to the critical questions.

She said this would help stakeholders in the defence and security sector play their roles and carry out their mandate effectively because the know they are being watched.

She said that this would help the security of Nigeria to fall in place.

Dangote Trains Northwest Journalists

Mohammed Shosanya

Dangote Group on Thursday in Kano commenced a two day training programme for 50 newsmen drawn from Northwest, Nigeria.

The two day workshop which has as its theme: Ethics, Skills and Personal Qualities for Reporting in the Digital Age, and it is being coordinated by the Centre for Financial Journalism in Nigeria.

The spokesman of Dangote Group, Mr. Anthony Chiejina, explained that the annual workshop is one in the series of others that have been conducted over the years, and in all the Geo-political zones of the country.

He said the training in Kano is also a reflection of the harmonious relationship between the Dangote Group and the Nigerian Media.

Mr. Chiejina said: “The members of the fourth estate of the realm are our partners in progress. We need each other for Nigeria to develop. I am very sure that the theme for this year on Reporting in Digital Age will change their lives, as it is being handled by seasoned journalists and communication experts.”

Chief Executive of the Centre for Financial Journalism Dr. Ray Echebiri said journalists can only be relevant when they continue to improve themselves via such training programmes.

A resource person, Mrs Aisha Sule urged journalists not to relent in building themselves, and said the collaboration with the Dangte Group and o ther staekholders should be sustained.

A participant and chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalist(NUJ) in Kano, Mr. Abbas Ibrahim commended the company for the exercise, while urging other participants to leverage the knowledge from the training to develop themselves.

Ibadan Media Outfit To Launch Online Radio

Mohammed Shosanya

Moac Global Media,a news and entertainment service provider, based in Ibadan, is set to launch its online radio service.

Its proprietor and Chief Executive Officer,Mr. Michael Olu Abi Coker,said the media outfit seeks to satisfy its teeming audience with new contents at the dial of a button on their devices.

He disclosed that the media outfit has concluded preparations to kick-start Power365 FM for listeners in the country and the diaspora.

He said listeners can access the live audio feed for Power365FM, an expansion of MOACTV through a simple download of its app from any mobile phone.

He said the new online platform will live stream events, while interactive content, where listeners can call in, will be made available too.

According to him,listeners will also have an option of switching to MOACTV on the same app, after download, while an option to hear popular programs they may have missed due to the difference in time zone will be considered.

“Power365 FM will be the world’s largest online radio and a leading provider of interactive mobile applications for listeners. With its proprietary “HD” voice technology, MOAC Global lovers can connect to either our radio and television channels around the world”, he said.

Moac Global Media, an independent channel founded in 2021,currently reaches an audience of over 200, 000 people throughout Africa and the world.

NLNG Restates Commitment To Empowerment Of Nigerian Journalists

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited,has restated its commitment to empowering journalists with the tools and skills needed to effectively convey stories that resonate with the Nigerian populace in the current digital age.

Mr Andy Odeh, NLNG’s General Manager of External Relations and Sustainable Development,disclosed this at the completion of the second edition of the company’s 2023 #NLNGChangeYourStory workshop in Abuja.

Mr Odeh reiterated NLNG’s belief in fostering symbiotic relationships with its stakeholders, recognising their indispensable role in the company’s current and future success.

“The growth and triumph of NLNG’s stakeholders are inextricably tied to the company’s growth, and thus, capacity building remains a cornerstone of NLNG’s commitment to collective progress. NLNG’s dedication to capacity building is not mere rhetoric but a tangible commitment that bolsters the growth and success of both stakeholders and the nation. It is also in line with our vision of being a globally competitive LNG company helping to build a better Nigeria,” he said.

He added that NLNG’s quest for sustainability led to the recognition of digital communication and social media as the future of the media. He stated that the workshop was initiated in 2015 when eight journalists participated in the first #NLNGChangeYourStory workshop.

The workshop, delivered by seasoned journalist Mr Dan Mason in collaboration with The Journalism Clinic, led by Mr Taiwo Obe, proved to be a transformative experience for the participating journalists. Leveraging their wealth of knowledge and experience, these experts adeptly guided participants through the nuances of digital communication and social media, empowering them to take control of their narratives and shape the nation’s stories.

From 1st August to 3rd August 2023, the annual capacity-building workshop brought together a diverse group of more than 25 journalists from various editorial sections in Abuja.

The event, fully sponsored by NLNG, focused on mobile and multimedia journalism, offering participants a comprehensive learning experience.

#NLNGChangeYourStory workshop has benefited over 90 journalists since 2015, reinforcing their digital communication and social media competencies. The workshop is an inspiring testament to the transformative power of state-of-the-art training. Journalists emerge equipped with the confidence and skills to embrace digital communication and social media.

NBC Wants Court To Void Verdict Stopping Fines On Broadcast Stations

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has filed a motion at a Federal High Court in Abuja asking the court to set aside its May 10, 2023 judgment in which it, among other things, issued an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Commission from further imposing fines on radio and televisions stations.

In the motion filed on its behalf by Mr. Babatunde Ogala (SAN), the Commission is asking the court to set aside the judgment, claiming that the court lacked jurisdiction to render the verdict and that it arrived at the decision in ignorance of relevant facts.

The verdict arose from a suit instituted by Abuja-based lawyer, Mr. Noah Ajare, on behalf of Media Rights Agenda (MRA), challenging the powers of the NBC to fine broadcasters, following a March 1, 2019 announcement by the then Director General of the Commission, Mallam Ishaq Kawu, that the Commission had imposed a fine of N500,000 each on 45 broadcast stations for alleged contraventions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

In his judgment delivered on May 10, 2023, Justice James Omotosho ruled that fines are sanctions imposed on a person who has been found guilty of a criminal offence and that the law in Nigeria, only Courts of law are empowered to impose sanctions for criminal offences. In setting aside the fines of N500,000 each imposed on the stations, he held that the NBC “is neither a Court nor a judicial tribunal to make pronouncements on the guilt of broadcast stations notwithstanding what the NBC Code says,” adding that the Commission’s action violated the Constitution.

Contrary to the finding of the judge in his judgment that the NBC “was served with the Originating Summons on 24th February, 2022 and served with several hearing notices but failed to file any process”, the Commission is alleging that the originating summons in the suit, which led to the judgment, was not served on it.

It is also claiming that MRA “has two un-appealed, subsisting and binding decisions of the Federal High Court on the same issues and parties” and that rather than appeal those decisions, it brought a fresh suit, setting the Court on a collision course with decisions of the other Federal High Court in the same complex.

The NBC cited in support of its claim a suit filed by MRA in 2021 against the NBC in which the organization challenged the constitutionality and legality of the Commission’s action on May 27, 2020 in imposing fines of N250,000 on Breeze FM radio, based in Lafia, Nazarawa State; N500,000 on Adaba FM radio in Akure, Ondo State; and N250,000 on Albarka FM radio in Ilorin, Kwara State. Justice Obiora Atuegwu Egwuatu delivered judgment on March 2, 2023, dismissing the suit.

It also cited another suit brought against NBC by seven organisations, namely the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), MRA, HEDA Resource Centre, the International Centre for Investigating Reporting (ICIR), the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), and Premium Times.

In that suit, the seven organizations challenged the NBC’s imposition of fines of N3 million each on Channels Television, Arise Television and the Africa Independent Television (AIT) over their coverage of the ENDSARs protests as well as another imposition of a fine of N5 million on Nigeria Info 99.3 by the NBC without giving the stations an opportunity to respond any allegation against them. Justice Nkeonye Maha delivered judgment in the suit on April 26, 2022, dismissing the suit.

The NBC is claiming that these suits and their outcome was not brought to the attention of court and that if the court had been aware of them, it would have reached a different decision in its May 10, 2023 judgment.

Justice Omotosho fixed hearing of the motion for October 5, 2023

Obey Court Order Stopping Fine On Broadcast Station,Media Group Tells NBC

Mohammed Shosanya

The Media Rights Agenda MRA,has advised the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to comply fully with the orders of Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja which restrained it from further imposing fines on radio and televisions stations.

The group said if the commission intends to appeal the verdict,it should expedite action on same devoid of walking the path of lawlessness.

MRA,in a statement,said its attention had been drawn to a statement credited to NBC Director General, Mallam Balarabe Shehu llelah, vowing that “The Commission will appeal against the judgement when it is found to be in conflict with previous judgements of the court, which empowers the Commission to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria (sic)”

MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, said : “We recognize and respect the right of the NBC to appeal against the judgment of the Court, if it is dissatisfied with the decision, so long as it does not flout the orders of the court when those orders have not been set aside by an appellate court. Whatever the NBC’s view of the Court’s judgment may be, it cannot deny that there is a valid and subsisting order of a court of competent jurisdiction prohibiting it from imposing fines on radio and television stations.

“Should the Commission or its Director-General take it upon themselves to sit on appeal over the judgment of the Court and disobey the clear and unequivocal orders of the Court, we wish to reassure them that we would take immediate and vigorous action to maintain the integrity of the court and its orders.”

He maintained that the NBC Director-General’s statement amounts to a feeble attempt to mislead the public.

He said:”We do not dispute the power or authority of the NBC to regulate broadcasting in Nigeria and we have not challenged its right to do so. That was not the issue before the court. But this does not make the Commission a court of law and neither the National Broadcasting Commission Act, as amended, nor the Nigeria Broadcasting Code can be interpreted to confer judicial powers on the NBC to impose criminal sanctions on radio and television stations in flagrant violation of the Constitution, as Justice James Omotosho stated so eloquently in his judgment.”

He noted that besides being a correct interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, the decision of Justice Omotosho is also consistent with international standards for the regulation of broadcast media as contained, for instance, in Principle 17(5) of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, which states that: “The powers of regulatory bodies shall be administrative in nature and shall not seek to usurp the role of the courts.”

According to him, the provisions of the Declaration are binding on Nigeria and its institutions, being an affirmation of the principles for anchoring the rights to freedom of expression and access to information in accordance with Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, an international human rights instrument to which Nigeria is a State Party, and which also forms part of Nigerian Law, having been domesticated in Nigeria by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

He said: “We appreciate that the NBC cannot be happy that we have shut down this major source of revenue for the Commission, but we urge it to tread the path of constitutionalism and the rule of law and obey the orders of a court of competent jurisdiction, established by the Constitution, especially if it expects individuals and entities subject to its regulatory authority to comply with its own lawful directives. The NBC will be courting anarchy should it decide to disregard the court’s orders.”

Stop Declaring Election Results, NBC Cautions Broadcast Stations

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has cautioned broadcasting stations in Nigeria to stop declaring election results.

It said such power is only within the jurisdiction of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The commission ordered all broadcasting stations to end all partisan political programmes by 11:59 pm on Thursday 23 February, 2023.

Director of Broadcast Monitoring, NBC,Francisca Aiyetan, who conveyed the order in a statement,reiterated that stations can announce the result only after a formal announcement of the results has been made by the electoral umpire himself.

Reaffirming how stringent the order is,the regular implored all broadcasters not to flaunt the order. It, therefore, challenged them to ensure adherence to the ethics and codes of the commission by stopping every commercial on their stations 24 hours prior to election day.

“The National Broadcasting Commission wishes to underscore the enormous responsibility trust on Broadcasters at this period and therefore calls for strict adherence to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act in order to ensure a sane airwave that will enable a free, fair, credible and transparent Election,” NBC added.

It also stated that no station is allowed to broadcast any political campaign or advertisement on its facilities 24 hours preceding polling day or on polling day.

It added:“The Broadcaster shall not use any vote obtained at a polling station or from exit poll, to project or speculate on the chances of a candidate. The Broadcaster shall relay Election Results or declaration of the winner only as announced by the authorised Electoral Officer for the election.”

Polls: MRA Sets Up Hotline for Journalists Under Attack

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has established a hotline for journalists who come under attack during the 2023 elections.

The organization explained that the facility would enable such journalists to receive support, guidance about their rights and available safety mechanisms, as well as litigation assistance, should that become necessary to enforce their rights.

In a statement,MRA’s Programme Officer, Mr. John Gbadamosi, said that the hotline was necessitated by the increasing level of attacks against media practitioners and organizations, particularly during the last several months leading up to the elections.

He said: “Besides the immediate effects of such attacks on the affected journalists and their families, the chilling effect on media freedom is also putting Nigeria’s democracy at risk since there can be no genuine democracy where journalists and the media are unable to perform their functions without fear.

“Attacking journalists and obstructing them with impunity in the performance of their professional functions has become an equal opportunity undertaking by different actors, with men of the Nigerian Police and other security and law enforcement personnel who should ordinarily protect the journalists being the major perpetrators of the attacks against them, along with other government officials, armed hoodlums, political thugs, criminal elements and other bad actors.”

Mr. Gbadamosi said the number, 08138755660, which can be used to make regular calls, WhatsApp calls or to send text messages or WhatsApp messages to MRA, will also be available on MRA’s website and its social media platforms so that any journalist or media worker who is threatened, under attack or has been attacked in the course of their work or as a result of their work can easily access the number and get in touch with the organization.

He advised journalists to save the number on their mobile devices on speed dial so that it is easily and quickly accessible to them should the need to use it arise.

He explained that journalists and other media workers may call the hotline or send messages to report relevant incidents, including threats of physical harm, to MRA for documentation purposes; to seek advice about their legal rights or available official mechanisms at domestic, regional or international levels, for them to lodge formal complaints about the violation of their rights.

He noted that journalists and media workers are free to lodge complaints through the number, including being prevented from doing their jobs, being subjected to degrading or inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrests and detention; assault, battery or other forms of physical violence; arbitrary raiding and searching of their homes or offices by security agents or other acts of intimidation, harassment and threats, including any such incident targeting their family members because of the work of the journalists.

He said the hotline will remain in operation from now until after the inauguration of the new government that will emerge from the elections.

NBC Mounts Campaign Against Use Of Political Ads With Kids As Models

By Tunde Sholanke

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has ordered broadcasting stations in Nigeria to stop the use of political ads with kids as models and characters to avoid being sanctioned.

According to the Commission,such actions are against the country’s broadcasting code.

Balarabe Ilelah, the NBC Director-General,spoke during a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja ,where she also charges broadcast stations in the country to reject any content that portrays children in political ads.

There has been a rising trend in the usage of children in political advertisements by politicians and cautioned that such adverts are in negation to section 7.7.1 (d) of the code,he noted.

He added:“Instead of developing local content, some broadcasters still rely on foreign children’s content, particularly cartoons which often are laced with themes of violence and immorality. This provision is grossly violated as the commission had clearly established this through programme audits it regularly undertakes”

He implored the participants to critically appraise the performance of broadcasters in the area of children programming to come up with a holistic policy direction while calling on broadcasting stations to devote 10 per cent of their daily airtime to children’s programmes to promote morality.

“NBC is deeply concerned about how some provisions under Chapter Four of the NBC code are being ignored or deliberately violated by broadcast outfits. Let me refer you to Section 4.2.2 (k) which requires broadcasters to devote at least 10 per cent of their total airtime to children’s programmes,”he said.

Dr. Kolawole Agatha, the National Programme Coordinator, Africa Project who represented Ms. Vanessa Phala, the Country Director, International Labour Organisation, Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

She urged relevant authorities to urgently protect children rights and restore their childhood from every form of abuse being meted children such as slavery, forced labour and trafficking.

Speaking, Dr. Garba Abari, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency on his part said that the stakeholder’s conversation was essentially to mobilise efforts to campaign for the elimination of child labour in the country which he described as an aberration anywhere in the world that ought not to be tolerated.

He explained that the illicit practice “strips children of their dignity, denies them the right to education, and exposes them to harmful and hazardous conditions.

2023 Elections: Control TV and Radio Boss Urges Media On Fairness, Professionalism

Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Control Television and Radio, Gimba Umar, has implored journalists to ensure balanced and fair reporting of the forthcoming general elections in the country.

He spoke at a press conference in Lagos,tagged,“Leveraging on the ethics of reporting ahead of the 2023 general elections”, where he also advised journalists to uphold professionalism while covering the elections.

The country,he said is currently faced with critical situation as the All Progressives Congress,the Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, and New Nigerian Peoples Party,NNPC jostle for the number one seat in Nigeria.

Journalists,he advised,as must resist the ultimate temptation to be cowed forcing them to tilt towards one party reporting it favourably against the other; denying the Nigerian people the right to know the truth.

He said:”Having said this, the onus now lies on us to ensure that professionalism is displayed and exemplified in our reporting of the 2023 general elections; for it is this period that the true test of the media shall come to bear… Without mincing words, We stand a chance to be celebrated or criticized at the end of the day”

He also tasked journalists to shun fake news and professed loyalty to truth and accuracy and a concern for fairness and good taste.

He further tasked Nigerian journalists to be credible,socially responsible and ethical in the coverage of the coming general elections in the country.

To him,the freer the press, the greater the role it can play in maintaining democracy, providing information and contributing to a sound, stable government.

“Let me at this point narrow down to the parties the candidates and their conduct in the build up to the 2023 general elections… As news man we must see and report what we see away from what is fast becoming a copycat situation where one media house or reporter picks up a story from the web and copies word for word the same report and publishes it. We must strive to be original, factual, and well researched to deliver our stories accurately.

“For Instance, the candidate of the APC must be given equal media reportage as given to the candidate of other parties PDP, Labour Party, NNPP and others. This is a critical backend influence of the outcomes of election which the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria BON frowns at.

Speaking on the stations latest win of Nigeria Media Merit Awards NMMA as the best reporting media organisation in Nigeria,Umar attributed the development to the promotion of ethical reporting practices by Control Television and Radio.

He said his team has acquired a combined 45 years of experience in the media/ broadcasting spectrum winning laurels,including clinching 11 awards of the NMMA.

He also said:”With Bureaus in 5 states including Lagos, Kano, Ekiti, Osun, Rivers and the FCT, we are set to deliver programs that are youth centric in our bouquet of programs that captures interests of the youth women and children.

“With platforms currently on the social media space, youtube, facebook, instagram, twitter, linked-In, tiktok and with the recent acquisition of our radio license while talks have been concluded to get on the Start Times Platform Control TV is in pole position to wow Nigerians when it comes to persons with a niche for detailed reportage devoid of government influences.

“The 2023 general elections will have a robust coverage across the country in no less than 19 states. Think Control TV and Radio when you think human angle stories.We are opened to content share partnerships with sister organizations reflective of patriotism to the Nigerian state as we have no other country.As a credible media organization, we seek your assistant in any way possible; as we invite you to help us tell the Nigeria and indeed African story”.