NBC directs broadcast stations to suspend Twitter use

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The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has directed all broadcast stations in Nigeria to suspend the patronage of Twitter with immediate effect.

The Commission, in a statement, directed broadcast stations, to “de-install Twitter handles and desist from using Twitter as a source ( of information gathering for News and programmes presentation especially phone-in.”

The statement titled “Suspend Twitter handles” was issued by the Acting Director-General of the Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba. It reads:

“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.

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“SECTION 2(1) R OF THE NBC ACT ENTRUSTS THE COMMISSION WITH 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.”

On June 2, 2021, the microblogging site pulled down President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet wherein he threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand.”

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The Federal Government thereafter suspended the operations of Twitter  after the Minister of information and Culture, Lai Muhammed calling the social media platform a suspect over the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria.