July 27, 2021

PRESS RELEASE: Minister Announces Measures To Strengthen NBC, Punish Hate Broadcasts

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
announced plans to take the necessary measures for the amendment of
the Act establishing the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to
align the regulator with the current realities in the broadcasting
industry.

The Minister made the announcement in Abuja on Tuesday when the
received the report of the NBC Reforms Implementation Committee from
the Chairman, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba.

“Some 27 years into the life of the NBC, there is the need to
re-evaluate the applicability of some of its laws. Following the
implementation framework presented to me, I will immediately commence
the process of forwarding an Executive Bill for consideration of the
Federal Executive Council and further legislative action.

“The Bill will address the existing lacuna in the areas of the
regulation of the Internet, the ongoing Digital Switch Over, Digital
Access Fee, and insulation of the regulator from partisan politics,”
he said.

Alhaji Mohammed said in the meantime, the NBC has been directed to
immediately come up with regulations for the broadcast of content on
the Internet and the Web, noting, however, that the regulations must
not in any way gag the press or hinder their universal role of
providing valuable information to the citizenry.

He also said that in line with a presidential approval, the Commission
has been mandated to amend the Broadcasting Code to reflect the upward
review of fines from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches relating to
hate speeches, inciting comments and indecency while willful repeat of
infractions on three occasions, after levying fine on a station, will
attract suspension of license.

The Minister also said the NBC should immediately upgrade the breach
of political comments relating to hate speeches and divisive comments
to ”Class A” offence in the Broadcasting Code.

He said that in order for the NBC to effectively perform its
regulatory role in the age of technology and the Internet, the
government will immediately commence the process for the acquisition
of modern broadcast equipment for the Commission for the purpose of
monitoring and enforcement.

Alhaji Mohammed said the NBC is also to immediately come out with
fresh regulations that will promote the local broadcast industry and
protect the Nigerian broadcast industry from monopolistic tendencies.

“These regulations are also in the area of advertising tariffs and
production of advertisements in Nigeria. The regulations will also
ensure that all anti-competitive behaviors are deterred and sanctioned
where they occur,” he said.

The Minister said the President also placed a high premium on the
welfare of staff of the NBC, hence the directive for the Commission to
commence work on an enhanced welfare package for the staff, with a
view to implementing such as soon as possible.

The NBC Reforms Implementation Committee was inaugurated by the
Minister on 10 October 2019 and given six weeks to submit its report.

Segun Adeyemi
Special Assistant To The President (Media)
Office of The Minister of Information and Culture
Abuja
19 Nov. 2019