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NBC Directs TV, Radio Stations to Deactivate Twitter Accounts

By Dipo Olowookere

All television and radio stations operating in Nigeria have been directed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to deactivate their Twitter accounts or risk being sanctioned.

The order was given by the regulatory agency of the broadcast industry in the country in a circular issued on Monday by the Director-General of the NBC, Mr Armstrong Idachaba.

In the statement, the NBC chief said broadcast stations still using Twitter after the federal government suspended operations of the famous micro-blogging platform in the country, were disobeying the government.

The regulator said it particularly is not happy that TV and radio stations in Nigeria were still using Twitter as a source of information gathering for news and programmes presentation, especially phone-in.

It directed those still doing this to desist from it or be punished, emphasising that their Twitter handles should be deactivated.

“Consequent on the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the federal government over the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission directs all broadcasting stations in Nigeria to suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately.

“In compliance to the above directive, broadcasting stations are hereby advised to de-install Twitter handles and desist from using Twitter as a source (UGC) of information gathering for news and programmes presentation, especially phone-in.

“Section 2(1) r of the NBC Act entrusts the commission with the responsibility to ensure strict adherence to the national laws, rules and regulations.

“Also, section 3.11.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code provides that ‘the broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a matter depicting that law and order are socially superior to or more desirable than crime and anarchy.

“Attention is also drawn to section 5.6.3 of The Code which requires broadcasters to be mindful of materials that may cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society in the use of a user-generated content (UGC).

“Note that it will be unpatriotic for any broadcaster in Nigeria to continue to patronise the suspended Twitter as a source of its information, therefore, strict compliance is enjoined,” the full statement read.

Recall that last Friday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, announced that operations of the US-based firm were prohibited in Nigeria indefinitely.

This action was taken after the company pulled down a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari for violating one of its rules.

On Saturday, GSM network providers were ordered to block their subscribers’ access to the platform and Nigerians bypassed this using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

This angered the federal government and the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami, said anyone using Twitter after the ban would be prosecuted.

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