Nigerian govt moves to ‘regulate’ online broadcasting

Nigeria’s Information minister, Lai Mohammed,
Nigeria’s Information minister, Lai Mohammed. [PHOTO CREDIT: The ScoopNG]

The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday said the National Broadcasting Commission will soon publish new regulations to guide online broadcasters in Nigeria.

The minister said this while inaugurating a seven-member committee on the Implementation of Reforms in the National Broadcasting Commission.

Mr Mohammed said the reforms to be implemented are recommendations of a committee he earlier set up on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari “over the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations.”

He said President Buhari also approved an amendment to the NBC act to enable it licence WebTv and radio stations, “including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into the country”.

‘Approved recommendations’

He said the approved recommendations also include the independence of NBC from political interference in the exercise of its regulatory powers, particularly with respect to the issuance and withdrawal of broadcasting licences.

He said the terms of reference include to establish and publish a new regulation for the licencing of web and internet broadcasters/international broadcasters in Nigeria,

“To immediately commence work on all statutory, legal and regulatory framework for further legislative action on the review of the NBC act by the National Assembly.

“To work out the modalities for competitive and reasonable salaries, wages and other welfare needs of the staff of the commission.

“To establish necessary protocols for the establishment or appointment of professionals or technocrats (non-partisan personality) to run the agency, and appointment into the board of the NBC,” part of the references noted.

Breaches; hate speeches

The minister said the president also approved an upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5 million for breaches relating to hate speeches and the upgrade of political comments relating to same to ”Class A” offence in the broadcasting code.

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“I have no doubt that this committee, which comprises highly-experienced professionals and administrators, will carry out a thorough job that will reposition the NBC as an effective and efficient regulator,” he said.

The committee is chaired by the Director, Broadcast Monitoring of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, while the Chief Press Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Joe Mutah, will serve
as Secretary.

Other members are Godfrey Ohuabunwa, Acting Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); Joseph Ehicheoya, Director, Legal Services, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture; Binta Bello, Secretary General, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); Ibrahim Jimoh, Director of Administration, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, Board Member, NBC.

The committee was given six weeks to submit its report.

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