President Muhammadu Buhari has approved wide-ranging reforms in the broadcasting industry, including the licensing of online radio and television stations.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this in Abuja on Friday when members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria visited his officce.
“I just want to use this opportunity to inform you that Mr President has actually already approved a review of the Broadcast Code that is going to take care of many of the issues you have already raised here,” his media aide, Segun Adeyemi, quoted the minister as saying.
The comment was in response to a request made by BON for the review of the Broadcasting Code.
Mr Mohammed said the president had approved that WebTVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, will be licensed because “sanity” must be brought into this industry.
“Mr President has also approved a wide range of reforms in the industry which, at the appropriate platform, I will let you know,” he said.
The minister promised to carry along members of BON in the review of the Broadcasting Code.
He, however, also stressed that the government is committed to free media.
“I have said it on many platforms that this administration is not about to gag the press. No! But we will appeal to the press to please self-regulate for the sake of this country and also for the sake of the industry itself,” he said.
Mr Mohammed also appealed to BON to partner with the government in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and cohesion in order to engender progress and national development.
“Today, if anybody listens to what is being said on some radio or television stations, you will think that this country is at war or that Christians actually cannot live with Muslims or that there is a dichotomy between the North and the South.”
The minister appealed to the BON members to use their platforms to promote the unity and cohesion of the country.
In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of BON, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, said the re-appointment of the minister was deserving because he brought life and great innovation to the broadcast industry during the first tenure of the administration.
He said BON is ready to key into the government’s agenda, especially the fight against fake news.