Former Independent Electoral Commission Chairman in Nigeria, Professor Atahiru Jega says President Mohammadu Buhari led government has a responsibility to contribute to the reforming broadcasting, so that it can play a remarkable role in democratic development.
Jega was speaking in Abuja at the second annual lecture of the National Broadcasting Commission in Nigeria.
“The Buhari government has a responsibility, under the change mantra to effect these changes in the broadcast industry.
Before coming to power, the party now in power had been a victim of incumbent governments’ influence and control on broadcasting, which made the 2011 and 2015 electioneering campaigns gargantuan David versus Goliath affairs. Now in power it has the rare opportunity to make things right.” Jega explained.
He said the present government has a rare opportunity to make things right by turning government broadcasting service to truly public broadcasting services as well as strengthening the regulators.
“For Broadcasting to play a significant role in democratic consolidation in Nigeria, it needs to undergo considerable reform to acquire democratic content. Democracy cannot be nurtured with undemocratic institutions and tendencies.
“The government-controlled broadcasters must be transformed, in all material, particulars into public service broadcasters and strong institutions relatively independent of government.”
Professor Jega says broadcasting in Nigeria must be significantly democratized and infused with democratic values and ideals.
“Attention has to be paid to adequate funding, institutional independence; professionalization of staff, motivation and security of tenure for staff. However, strong code of ethical conduct and robust legal and regulatory frameworks must be put in place.”
He also said the privatization of broadcasting in Nigeria has witnessed a proliferation of radio and television stations owned by federal and state governments, as well as private entrepreneurs but with little to show for it in terms of professionalism and development of the sector.
He added that broadcasting has an important role to play in a democratic development of Nigeria.