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COVID-19: Nigeria to intensify public enlightenment, advocacy campaigns

The Nigerian Government has rolled out plans to intensify its public enlightenment and advocacy campaigns across the country.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this at the daily joint press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, in Abuja, Nigeria.

According to him, this has become necessary because, in the absence of vaccine or drugs, Non pharmaceutical Intervention (NPI) remains the most effective way to contain the spread of the disease and protect Nigerians.

“Although a respected opinion poll, the NOI Polls, has shown that 99% of Nigerians are aware of COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and its agencies have ramped up their public enlightenment and advocacy campaign to continue to reach Nigerians with information on how they can protect themselves and avoid contracting the disease” he said.

The Minister noted that the advocacy had continued to focus on the need for the populace to adhere strictly to social distancing and mass gathering restrictions, wear face mask and ensure good personal hygiene.

He equally said that the Ministry had now rolled out a new set of TVCs and radio jingles focusing on the NPI interventions. The TVCs and the jingles, in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, have started playing on the NTA and the FRCN.

“We are in the process of rolling them out on the State and private radio and television stations across the country. We have no choice since information remains the most potent tool that can be deployed against the virus today.” 

“NTA, FRCN, NAN and VON are also fully engaged in the public enlightenment and advocacy campaign. These agencies have used their own resources to produce TVCs and jingles, which they have continued to air and disseminate information, in addition to devoting a large chunk of their programmes and time to the campaign” he said.

Broadcast Commission intensifies fight against fake news

Meanwhile the Minister also at the daily joint press briefing said that the National Broadcasting Commission in Nigeria is intensifying efforts at fighting misinformation in the broadcast media.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed noted that the Commission had warned broadcasting stations in the country against bringing on their programmes ‘panelists’ with agenda to make reckless statements and insinuations.

“In the meantime, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has taken steps to prevent misinformation via the broadcast stations by warning them to adhere strictly to the professional ethics of balance and fairness in reporting COVID-19”he said.

According to him, the Commission, in its warning letter to the broadcast stations, quoted the relevant sections of the Broadcasting Code.

For example, the NBC quoted Section 5.4.1, which says ”The broadcaster shall at all times ensure that the coverage of a disaster or crisis is aimed at overall public interest, guidance and safety.” 

It also quoted, among others, Section 4.1.1, which says “panelists in a discussion programme must reflect various viewpoints” the Minister explained.

The Commission therefore warned that failure to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Broadcasting Code will attract sanctions, as stipulated by the Code.

Source: Voice of Nigeria