FG Unveils Reviewed Broadcasting Code

Yemisi Izuora

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has

unveiled the reviewed Nigeria Broadcasting Code which contains the

Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging

the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.

In his remarks at the ceremony organized by the National

Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos on Tuesday, the Minister said

the Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry

due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who

intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves.

He said the Antitrust provision would also encourage open access to

premium content.

”I must explain that this provision is not new to Nigeria

Broadcasting. Exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the

history of our broadcasting. I recall Multichoice sub-licensing EPL

matches to other local operators in Nigeria. I recall HITV engaging

several local operators on sub-licensing the EPL when they got the

rights,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said the revised Code contains the law prohibiting backlog of

advertising debts in order to promote sustainability for the station

owners and producers of content, as well as the law on registration of

Web Broadcasting, which will grant the country the opportunity to

regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm the nation.

“The provisions on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote

airtime to national emergencies…obviously mandates terrestrial and

Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time

of national emergencies – like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – for

their education and enlightenment,” the Minister said.

He said the amended Code also includes the provision raising the fine

for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to 5 million Naira.

Alhaji Mohammed clarified that the amendments were necessitated by a

Presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections, for

an inquiry into the regulatory role of the NBC with a view to

repositioning the regulator for optimum performance.

He said despite the attacks by some vested interests, who believe that

their singular business interest is superior to national interest,

over the provisions of the amended Code, the Federal Government

remains unperturbed,

“But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments,

which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting

in Nigeria. Our intention remains the good of the country. We need to

catalyze the growth of the local industry. We need to create jobs for

our teeming creative youths. The opportunities must be created and we

believe that effective regulatory interventions are a sure way of

attaining this. That’s why we will not waver,” the Minister said.

For his part, the Acting Director General of the NBC, Prof.

Armstrong Idachaba, commended the present administration for showing

keen interest in the development of the Broadcasting Industry through

the implementation of reforms and several other interventions.

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