Nigerian broadcasting stations are barred from featuring results of Nigeria elections obtained from social media, according to an industry watchdog rule, despite the Internet frenzy that has trailed yesterday’s Presidential Elections nationwide.
Thanks to the growing Internet user community in the country, Nigerians have continued to share results from polling units on various social media platforms.
But Nigerian broadcast stations are prevented from featuring election results obtained from social media, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has said.
“A broadcaster shall broadcast election results or declaration of the winner only as announced by the authorized electoral officer for the election. Broadcasters are reminded that the social Media is not an official source for release of election results”, the terse NBC rule issued ahead of the polls states.
Broadcast media outlets have stayed off joining the social media frenzy because of this code, otherwise they run the risk of regulatory sanctions by the industry watchdog, industry players say.
NBC reminds its industry stakeholders of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Electoral Act underscoring that both rules provide “that only INEC is empowered by law to release election results.”
So far, because of inconclusive elections in some parts of Nigeria, polls will continue today and the official result, which can only be issued by the election umpire, INEC, is not likely to hit the airwaves until the official announcement.
The rule barring report of elections sourced from social media also affect political campaigns on the airwaves.
“Political Campaigns through the Mass Media is now a rising phenomenon and an acceptable trend. The Nigeria Broadcast industry has played a very vital role in interfacing between the aspirants and the voters, which is an attestation to the growing influence and impact of the Mass Media on the political process”, NBC says.
Under the rule, “no broadcaster shall permit any political campaign or advertisement on its facilities 24 hours immediately preceding polling day or on polling day.”