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NBC Increases Hate Speech Fine To N5m

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Teebillz Tacha
Lai Mohammed

Ganiyat Ganiyu

The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has increased the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to 5 million Naira.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code on Tuesday in Lagos also mandated broadcast stations to enlighten and sensitive the public on national emergencies through dedicated contents.

A statement by the Minister after the unveiling ceremony said 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 National Broadcasting Commission as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after the elections.

Mohammed said the recommendations were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the NBC to perform its regulatory role better mostly in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising and anti-competitive behaviour.

The minister, who noted that section 2h of the NBC Act empowers the Commission to establish and disseminate a National

Broadcasting Code, said, “There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:

“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.

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“The law on 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 provisions on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies: This provision 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 provision raising the fine for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to 5 million Naira.”

He added, “The Broadcasting Code is not a static document. As we often say, broadcasting is dynamic. Therefore, even the 6th Edition of the Code shall be reviewed at the appropriate time. 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 catalyse 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.

“For those who still have misgivings about the amendment to the 6th Edition of the Code, we expect you to meet with the regulator and present your views. As I said, there are opportunities for constant review of the Code, but please note that this latest amendment is signed, sealed and delivered, and we are committed to making it work for the good of the country.”

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