The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined 17 broadcast stations for breaching its regulatory guidelines in the ongoing general electioneering campaigns.

The NBC also sanctioned 302 broadcast stations for infringing on the nation’s broadcast code. The commission did not mention the names of the states that were affected by its regulatory penalties.

Director-general of the NBC, Balarabe Ilelah, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Thursday during a press conference on NBC scorecard, also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of 67 new radio and television stations in Nigeria as part of efforts to further pluralism and freedom of expression.

With the new wielding of the big stick, NBC warned 196 stations; cautioned 69; queried 13; and referred nine stations to its headquarters across the country.

Nigeria currently has 740 functional broadcast stations.

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The NBC boss said 473 stations were issued licences by the current administration, adding that President Buhari has approved the independence of NBC from any political interference in the exercise of its regulatory functions particularly to issuance and withdrawal of broadcasting license.

Mr Ilelah, however, called on broadcasters to continue to cooperate with the commission in abiding by the provisions guiding broadcast operations in Nigeria.

He said the commission is making effort to digitize the broadcast license application processes where potential applicants may submit applications from the comforts of their homes.

According to him, President Buhari has also approved for the commission to acquire state-of-the-art nationwide broadcast monitoring equipment.

“Acquisition of the equipment is in the process and if finally acquired the commission will get to have ultra-modern Artificial Intelligence-driven central monitoring infrastructure,” he said.