The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, August 4, said the Federal Government (FG) had raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
Mohammed made this assertion while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos.
The Minister said the FG had mandated broadcast stations to devote more time for public education on emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the federal government had amended the broadcasting code, adding that the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after the 2019 general election.
He further disclosed that these recommendations by the FG were necessary in order to reposition the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising, and anti-competitive behaviour.
He said: “The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly 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. It will encourage Open Access to premium content.
“The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content.
“This law on the registration of Web Broadcasting grants the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us as a nation. Such harms could be in the area of security; protection for minors; protection of human dignity; economic fraud; privacy, etc.”
“The provision on the responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels; to make their services available to Nigerians at times of national emergencies; like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.”