The radio station was fined after an interview where a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailafia, said he got information that a Northern governor sponsored Boko Haram.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, 261 concerned Nigerians, civil society and media groups have filed a lawsuit against the National Broadcasting Commission and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
The litigants are asking the court to declare as arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional the N3m fine imposed on each of Channels, AIT and Arise TV for their coverage of the #EndSARS protests.
They are also asking the court to stop NBC from collecting the money.
Acting Director-General of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, is joined in the suit as defendant.
The co-plaintiffs in the suit are 255 concerned Nigerians; Premium Times Services Limited; Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development; HEDA Resource Centre; International Centre for Investigative Reporting; African Centre for Media and Information Literacy; and Media Rights Agenda.
Idachaba, had last week announced fines of N9m on Channels, AIT, and Arise TV for purported “unprofessional coverage” of the #EndSARS protests across the country.
But in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1436/2020 filed last Friday at the Federal High Court, Abuja, the plaintiffs are seeking an order setting aside the arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional fines of N9m and any other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Channels, AIT and Arise TV, and on any other radio/television stations simply for carrying out their professional and constitutional duties.
They argued that Section (2)(n) of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code are oppressive, and clearly inconsistent with the Nigerian constitution and the country’s international obligations.
The suit reads, “If the NBC and Lai Mohammed are allowed to continue to use these oppressive provisions against independent media in the guise of performing their statutory duties, the end result will be authoritarianism and denial of freedom and liberty.
“The NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed have consistently used broadcasting codes to suppress the watchdog roles of independent media, and to violate Nigerians’ human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, to disseminate and receive information, and hold their government and public officials to account.
“The action by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed is arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional, as it is contrary to section 39 of the Nigerian constitution, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has ratified. Their action is apparently aimed to clampdown on media freedom and Nigerians’ human rights.”
The plaintiffs are also seeking an order setting aside the fine of N5m and any other penal sanction unilaterally imposed by the NBC and Mr Lai Mohammed on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM Lagos, simply for carrying out its professional and constitutional duties.
The suit filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by their lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare, Adelanke Aremo and Opeyemi Owolabi, reads in part, “A fine is a criminal sanction and only the court is empowered by the constitution to impose it. Fine imposed by regulatory agencies like the NBC without recourse to the courts is illegal, unconstitutional and offends the sacred principles of natural justice and fairness.
“It is the duty of the government to allow the legal and judicial powers of the state to function properly. Imposing any fine whatsoever without due process of law is arbitrary, as it contravenes the principles of ‘nemo judex in causa sua’ which literally means ‘one cannot be a judge in his own cause’ and ‘audi alteram partem’ which literally means ‘no one should be condemned unheard’.
“The NBC, being a regulatory body, is not empowered by law to act as the prosecutor and the judge; all at the same time. We humbly urge the court to set aside the unlawful and unconstitutional fines imposed on independent media houses, and to uphold the sanctity of the Nigerian constitution, Nigerians’ human rights, media freedom, and the rule of law.”
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has described the N5m fine on Lagos-based radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3 FM by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as illegal.
The Human Rights Lawyer said this in a statement he personally signed and wondered why the NBC will be in a hurry to penalise the radio station.
While noting that the State Security Service (SSS) has not concluded an investigation into the radio station’s guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, Falana asked why the Commission was in a hurry to violate the broadcast firm’s fundamental right.
According to him, it is only a competent court of law that has the right to impose fines on a criminal suspect after conducting a trial.
“Only a competent court of law is empowered to try, convict and impose a fine on a criminal suspect after a trial has been conducted before a competent court.
“In view of the fact that the imposition of the N5 million fine was anchored on a purported amendment of the Code and since the NBC lacks the legal competence to impose a fine on any broadcasting station without a finding of guilt by a properly constituted criminal court the NBC should suo mutu quash the illegal fine,” Falana said.
The senior lawyer added that: “Section 33 (4) of the Constitution provides that anyone charged with a criminal offence shall be tried before a competent court or tribunal.”
He noted that in the case between the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited at the Federal High Court, Honourable Justice Ojukwu held that the imposition of fines by regulatory agencies was unlawful.
The NBC had said the fine was imposed on the media outfit due to its unprofessional broadcast.
It explained that Nigeria Info was not professional in the handling of its morning show aired between 8.30 am and 9.00 am on Monday.
NBC stated that the station provided its platform for its guest and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views,” saying such could lead to public disorder.
The Board of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has kicked against the amendments to the sixth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
The Chairman of the Board, Ikra Bilbis, stated the position of the board on Thursday while addressing a news conference in Abuja.
“As a board, we have received and taken our time to compile the responses of numerous stakeholders which include our Nobel Laureate, activists, legal practitioners, broadcasters, investors, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), content creators, copyright experts, and professional organisations.
“Most of them have adduced reasonable reasons against the proposed amendment,” said Bilbis who is a former Minister of State for Information.
He explained that the management of the commission did not undertake a proper consultation before making the amendments to the code.
The former minister decried that the amendments to the code were capable of destroying investments in the nation’s broadcast sector.
He stressed that the board was not in support of the reviewed code unveiled by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday last week.
Bilbis noted that some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had made observations to the minister at a meeting about the divisive broadcasts engaged in by some broadcast media before, during, and after the elections.
He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had also called for the need to strengthen the operations of the NBC to avert a reoccurrence.
The NBC board chairman, however, stressed that the noble observation of the President was misunderstood by the minister.
“The board of the NBC wishes to make it quite clear that as long as it is in place, the only NB Code that we recognise and which we shall work within the setting of operating policies and standards for the NBC is the 6th edition of the NB Code which was launched in 2019 in Kano.
”Another purported review has no board endorsement,” he stated.
Read the full text of Bilbis’ remarks at the briefing below:
THE POSITION OF THE BOARD OF THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (NBC) ON THE PURPORTED AMENDMENT TO THE 6TH EDITION OF THE NIGERIA BROADCASTING CODE (NB CODE).
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you all to this important press briefing on a very touchy issue related to broadcasting in Nigeria.
You may all be aware of the recent negative developments concerning the purported amendment of the NB Code. The wellbeing of the broadcast media has direct relevance to the stability of our democracy. I, therefore, have the pleasure of presenting to you the position of the NBC Board on the issues.
The National Broadcasting Commission is established by law and section 2(h) of the NBC Act empowers the Commission to establish and disseminate a Nigeria Broadcasting Code (NB Code) which sets standards for the quality and content of broadcast materials.
Code review is undertaken every four years and involves the staff of the NBC, Former DG’s, retired Directors of the Commission and all other relevant stakeholders in broadcasting. These include Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Independent Broadcast Association of Nigeria (IBAN), Private Media outfits, Broadcasters, Notable media Intellectuals, Communication experts, Digiteam and the Academia.
The current edition (6th Edition) was presented to the public in 2019 at an elaborate ceremony in Kano which attracted a broad section of various stakeholders.
Following the 2019 national elections, some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) made observations to the Honourable Minister of Information at a FEC meeting about the divisive broadcasts engaged in by some broadcast media before, during and after the elections and the need to strengthen the operations of the NBC to avert such future occurrence.
This noble observation of Mr President was unfortunately misunderstood by the Hon. Minister of Information. Instead of studying and following the Law, relevant rules and regulations, and direct the appropriate authorities as stipulated by the Law to act on, he erroneously embarked on the review alone.
From the history, traditions and the convention of the NBC, no Honourable Minister of Information has ever interfered in any NB Code review. After the 2019 presentation of the 6th code (which is the present one), the Hon. Minister has acted alone with just a handful of his loyalists who have written a new NB Code that has created an uproar in the industry, threatening to destroy investments and lead to job losses.
The Honourable Minister has constantly dropped the name of President Muhammadu Buhari as having approved his own version of the code review. The NB Code is a regulatory framework put together jointly by stakeholders to guide their operations in the industry. It is therefore not a unilateral government instrument and is already covered by Law hence, not requiring any further Presidential approval. This might be the reason why till date the Hon. Minister cannot show us a copy of the Presidential approval.
President Buhari is a stickler for due process and he always insists on organisations doing the right thing. The Honourable Minister’s version of the revised NB Code does not meet any known criteria of due process and inclusiveness of stakeholders.
The Director overseeing the office of the DG of the NBC has equally made insinuations that the Board endorsed the amendments culminating in its ‘public presentation’ on 26th March 2020 at the L’eola Hotel in Lagos. Nothing can be farther from the truth. The “public presentation” was actually attended by serving directors in the NBC, one former DG of the NBC, a member representing the Ministry of Information and only four (4) selected stakeholders.
When compared with over sixty (60) stakeholders that attended the 2019 presentation in Kano, there is a wide gap in industry representation. We have the list of the four hand-picked stakeholders at the Lagos “presentation”. The Board of the NBC was neither informed nor represented.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you may all recall that by 26th march 2020, (the day of the “Public Presentation” in Lagos), the Federal Government had already announced a COVID-19 lockdown of Lagos, Ogun states and the FCT. It was therefore not a sincere effort to present such an important ‘review document’ which affects people’s investments and livelihoods under such situation.
The attendant public outcry over the purported review of some sensitive sections of the NB Code compelled the Board of the NBC to institute a process through which stakeholders could express their opinions and harmonise their feelings with what the Honourable Minister had unilaterally created.
The Board convened a meeting which included the Director overseeing the office of the DG in attendance. The unanimous decision was to issue a press release inviting inputs from various stakeholders. It became clear to the Board that even though the Director overseeing the DG’s office subscribed to the unanimous decision of the Board, he was inclined to sabotaging the press release for obvious reasons.
The Board, on its own, chose to be proactive by taking Five (5) National Newspaper announcements seeking inputs from relevant stakeholders in furtherance of the principle of equity, fairness and creating a level playground for all stakeholders.
Most surprising was the rejoinder issued by the Director overseeing the office of the DG stating that the notice published by the Board seeking stakeholders input does not have the ‘official endorsement of the Commission’. Sections 5(4), 5(2) 1(d), (g) and (h) and sections 3 of the NBC Act state categorically the powers and composition of the Commission and under whose purview the management of Commission falls.
There are very serious and disturbing amendments which have been unilaterally carried out by the Hon. Minister. This has attracted very critical comments with threats of litigation from concerned organisations and individuals.
As a Board, we have received and taken our time to compile the responses of numerous stakeholders which include our Nobel Laurette, Activists, Legal Practitioners, Broadcasters, Investors, BON, Content Creators, Copyright experts and professional organisations. Most of them have adduced reasonable reasons against the proposed amendment.
As a Board that supervises the affairs of the NBC, it is important that we state that we cannot fold our arms and watch the activities of the Honourable Minister which is directed at destroying the modest gains the Broadcast Industry has achieved since the setting up of the Commission and the deregulation of Broadcasting in Nigeria.
While not disputing the fact that there are many challenges in the sector, the quest to find solutions cannot be totally assumed by one man. Approaches to solutions must be through wide consultations, discussions, persuasion and concession. Dictatorship tends to ruin businesses and prompt divestment. The Hon. Minister seems to have taken the option of working from an answer to the question instead of vice versa. We are in an era of democracy.
The NBC was set up by law and there is an Act that guides its operations. The Honourable Minister, therefore, cannot usurp the powers of the Board as clearly stated in the Act. Any such action by the Honourable Minister is illegal.
The Board of the NBC wishes to make it quite clear that as long as it is in place, the only NB Code that we recognise and which we shall work within the setting of operating policies and standards for the NBC is the 6th edition of the NB Code which was launched in 2019 in Kano. Any other purported review has no Board endorsement and therefore cannot be utilised in regulating broadcasting in Nigeria.
The danger of allowing the unilateral amendment of the NBC Code to stand is that investors in the industry will loose confidence in the stability the broadcast ecosystem has enjoyed till date before the advent of the current Minister of Information.
Our President and his team have worked so hard to galvanise local and foreign investment in Nigeria. Allowing obnoxious policies to take root in our Investment Culture will spell doom for creativity, enterprise, diversity and the general development of broadcasting in Nigeria.
I leave you with the words of the famous American President Abraham Lincoln who said:
‘’You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, which they could and should do for themselves’’.
The very controversial portions of the purported amended code certainly aim at destroying hard work and enterprise. It aims at taking people’s freedom and intellectual property. It aims at depriving hard-working entrepreneurs to empower new entrants who have not cut their teeth and it aims at stifling investment. That is the main reason why stakeholder inputs are been avoided.
I shall take a few questions and allow some of my colleagues and Industry experts to handle details in some areas.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the fined of N5 million imposed on a Lagos-based radio state – 99.3 FM Nigeria Info by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
In a statement he personally signed on Thursday, he asked the NBC to drop the penalty against the station, describing the reason given for its action as an attempt to gag the media in the country.
The former vice president disagreed with the nation’s broadcasting regulatory agency with its argument that the interview that the station had with a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, constituted any infringement and exposed the media outfit to trading in hate speech.
He argued that whether or not, what Mailafia during the programme aired on the radio station was a false claim, it was not the responsibility of the NBC to impose a sanction for a comment made by an individual.
Atiku stressed that the former CBN deputy governor had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents, adding that they were at liberty to prosecute him in court if they were not satisfied with his explanations.
He insisted that it was wrong to make a scapegoat of the media platform which provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.
The former vice president also called on the NBC to review the hate speech prohibition code, saying the interpretation of same was offensive to the notion of free speech
Read the full statement by the former vice president below:
We are compelled to react to the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission code concerning infringement on hate speech and the operational style that media houses should employ to conform with the new regulation.
While there is no disputation over the fact that hate speech portends an existential threat to the enterprise of journalistic reporting and, in fact, inhibits the workings for a free society, it is absolutely repugnant that powers that be would instrumentalise the prevention of hate speech as a means of constricting free speech.
It is globally acknowledged that one of the core functions of the mass media is to inform the society on all ranges of issues, not even to the exclusion of national security issues.
The mass media has a role to play in ensuring that all possible shades of opinions are given access to the media platform.
In many advanced democracies the world over, criminals on even wanted lists of law enforcement agencies have reached out to the media to express their opinions about the crimes that they had perpetrated and the media space was not denied to them.
As a matter of fact, it seems somewhat contradictory that a country like ours, which is in the throes of national security skirmishes, would choose to shrink media access to critical information.
It is not known if any society had won the war against terrorism by placing a restriction to access to information, in the way the NBC had done.
In a particular reference to the penalty handed down to the operators of 99.3 FM Nigeria Info, we disagree wholeheartedly with the argument of the NBC that the interview that the station had with Dr Obadiah Mailafia constitutes any infringement or if at all it exposes the station to trading in hate speech.
Whether or not what Dr Mailafia said on the radio station was a false claim, it is outside of the objectives of a responsible regulatory framework to sanction a radio station for a comment an individual made, more so that the personality in question, Dr Obadiah, had been quizzed and released by law enforcement agents.
If for any reason the authorities are not satisfied with his explanations, they are at liberty to prosecute him in court, but not to make a scapegoat of the media platform that provides opportunities for citizens to ventilate their views.
The claim by the management of NBC that “this (the penalty) is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetorics and expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such”, is a naked attempt to gag the media in Nigeria.
We, therefore, call on the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to cause a review of the hate speech prohibition code because the very interpretation of same is offensive to the notion of free speech which is an essential ingredient of participatory democracy that Nigeria operates.
We also demand of the NBC to drop the penalty against the operators of 99.3 Nigeria Info FM on account of the fact that the penalty is at best ill-thought out.
Lastly, we want to refresh the memories of the generality of Nigerians that the Nigerian media has been in the frontline of the vanguard in the fight against military rule and restoration of a democratic order. In other words, it is very disappointing that under the watch of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the media is, yet again, being targeted for extermination.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined a Lagos-based radio station – Nigeria Info 99.3 FM N5 million.
In a statement obtained by Channels Television on Thursday, the commission said the fine was imposed as a result of unprofessional broadcast by the media outfit.
It explained that Nigeria Info was not professional in the handling of its morning show aired between 8.30am and 9.00am on Monday.
NBC stated that the station provided its platform for its guest and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views,” saying such could lead to public disorder.
It added that the action of the radio station was in violation of some sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code
According to the commission, the fine imposed on Nigeria Info will serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations are quick to provide platforms for “subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims”, to desist from such.
This comes a week after the Federal Government launched the reviewed sixth Broadcasting Code of the NBC.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the government had raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
Read the full statement signed by the management of NBC below:
THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION FINES Nigeria Info 99.3FM FOR UNPROFESSIONAL BROADCAST
The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am.
The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.
The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that Broadcasters hold Licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no Broadcast Station should be used, to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.
Dr Mailafia Obadia’s comments on the “Southern Kaduna Crisis”, were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, is in violation of the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:
3.1.1 No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;
3.1.2 Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;
3.3.1 (a) The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;
18.104.22.168(b) The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;
3.11.1(a) The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;
3.11.1(b) No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;
5.4.1(f) The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6thedition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only.
This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide a platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.
The Commission wishes to put it on record that it will not hesitate to suspend the Broadcast Licence of broadcast stations that continue to breach the Code.
Stations are, by this statement, admonished to desist forthwith, from airing unwholesome content or be ready to face appropriate sanctions.
The reviewed Nigeria Broadcasting Code is not a standard document for the regulation of broadcasting in Nigeria and stakeholders were not properly consulted, according to Professor Tonnie Iredia.
Professor Iredia, a former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), claims that the NBC Code pushes fear into the mind of practitioners.
The Professor of Broadcast Management and Media Law said this on Wednesday. Noble Reporters Media knows
While arguing that the broadcast industry is key to the enlightenment of the people, he warned that the over-regulation of the sector will not augur well for the country.
He explained the broadcasting code is supposed to be a guide and not seen as an instrument for regulation, adding that a broadcast code needs the input of all stakeholders to make it stand the test of time.
According to him, “the NBC just rolled out a number of things that it felt should be in the code and did not hold consultations with the stakeholders like the previous managers of the system did, you first of all hold consultation, everybody will look at it, there will be a document, you will bring it out at the tail end, there will still be another kind of peer review and all kinds of things.
“Just as I said at the beginning, the code was supposed to be a professional guide. It was supposed to be a masterpiece that promotes professional excellence in broadcasting but now it is filled with sanctions of what you will do and not do.
“And the bodies that should have been consulted were not consulted. Rather, they were being told that it is subject to review and all their objections now will be taken into consideration in the next review.”
The Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has asked the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to stop airing the ongoing TV reality show, Big Brother Naija (BBN) dues to some reasons.
According Lai Mohammed, the reason for this is because of the fears of a possible spread of COVID-19 among housemates.
NRM learnt on Wednesday, that Armstrong Idachaba, acting director-general of the NBC, told senior management members that he had been directed by the minister to shut down the show. Mohammed reportedly wanted the letter shutting down the show to come from the NBC because of the general opinion that he is bent on sending MultiChoice Ltd, producers of the show, out of Nigeria.
However, insiders told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that the NBC management was not well disposed to the move to shut down BBN, with some of them saying there was no basis for it. A director is said to have reminded the meeting that NBC had already sought explanation from Multichoice on a possible violation of COVID-19 protocols with the airing of the show. The letter was sent on July 1, before the show began.
MultiChoice replied with detailed explanations on measures taken in collaboration with the Lagos state government, whose agency, Lagos State Safety Commission, gave the green light for the show.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to implement regulations for online media.
In a statement released by his media aide Segun Adeyemi on Thursday January 9, the Minister said implementation of the regulations which has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari will reposition the broadcast industry, create jobs, promote local content, deliver real value in the sector and grow the creative industry.
Broadcasters were also asked to utilize the content and services of Nigerian independent producers in line with regulatory requirements for 70 percent local content.
“Following my satisfaction with the report which was very professional and detailed, I wish to direct the commission to take the necessary measures to effect the implementation of the various provisions therein.
“This directive covers the provision for the regulation of the web and online TV/radio; regulation of international broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria; hate speech; human resource and staff welfare; funding for the reforms implementation; monitoring; Independence of the regulator and ease of issuing licenses as well as competition and monopoly issues.
“This will empower local producers with proper funding and investment, enhance foreign collaborations, develop the local industry, raise the standard of local productions and ultimately lead to job creation,” he said.
“The new regulations will also ensure that producers of content are paid promptly for adverts and sponsored content placed on all TV, radio and broadcast platforms, ensure that the production of adverts are localized to create and promote local production and, where it is not, to attract a charge every time such an advert is aired, with the charge being put into a fund to help develop local expertise in production.
“For musical content, a new regulation will ensure that broadcasters are prevented from illegal and unpaid use of musical works without payment of the applicable license fees and/or royalties required by music rights owners.
“The new regulations will re-energise the broadcast industry, deliver real value in the sector and grow the creative industry for the benefit of the practitioners”.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts at promoting news literacy and strong professional journalism in the country.
The Director-General of NBC, Mallam Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu, made the call at the 2019 Annual World Human Rights Day organised by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Lagos Branch.
Modibbo-Kawu, who was represented Dr Chibuike Vincent, Zonal Director of NBC, Lagos, delivered a lecture on “The Role of the Media in Promoting Human Rights and Curbing Fake News in a Democratic Setting”.
The event was themed: “Criminalisation of Rights to Freedom of Speech and Expression as Enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution”.
The director-general noted that fake news and sophisticated disinformation campaigns were especially problematic in a democratic system.
According to him, there is a growing debate on how to address the issue without undermining the benefits of digital media.
Modibbo-Kawu said: “It is therefore important that all stakeholders – government, business and consumers of news, work together to solve these problems.
“Government should promote news literacy and strong professional journalism in society. The news industry must provide high-quality journalism in order to build public trust and correct fake news and disinformation without legitimising them.
“Technology companies should invest in tools that identify fake news, reduce financial incentives for those who profit from disinformation and improve online accountability.
“Educational institutions should make informing people about new literacy a high priority. Individuals should follow a diversity of news sources and be sceptical of what they read and watch.”
He said that the NBC was saddled with the responsibility of ensuring broadcasters desist from promoting fake news via upholding the dissemination of quality content and materials for broadcast.
The director-general said:” Section 3.1.1. of the National Broadcasting Code says no broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate.”
He explained how to differentiate hate speech from free speech, measures to be taken to counter hate speech while protecting free speech as well as the type of speech to be excluded from the media.
According to him, freedom of speech is key to development, dignity and fulfilment of every person and nation and it is necessary for good governance, economic and social progress and accountability.
He, however, said that the right to freedom of expression was not an absolute right and that the Federal Government might, under exceptional circumstances, restrict the rights under international human rights law.
“Media houses, however, appear to be using mediums like the internet, adverts and varying programmes to give rise to anti-public space, voicing hatred and essentialist discourse which has blurred the lines between hate speech and free speech.
“Simply put, hate speech is any expression of discriminatory hate towards people. The media has the responsibility of accurately labelling certain expression as ‘hate speech’.
“The media should condemn all propaganda and all organisations which proffer ideas or theories of superiority of one tribe or group of persons or one colour or ethnic origins,” he added.
He said that all forms of mass media should recognise that they had a moral and social responsibility to promote equality and non-discrimination for individuals with the broadest possible range of protected characteristics.
In his remark, Mr Alex Omotehinse, the Chairman of the CDHR, Lagos Branch, said that the group attached so much importance to the commemoration because of the gross violation of inalienable rights.
Omotehinse urged the National Assembly to promote rights of the citizens while the executive should enforce those rights.
According to him, the media and media practitioners should not be clampdown in the country with any law or policies.
Omotehinse, who urged the Lagos State Government to review the new order on traffic offences and penalties, called on the government to de-congest the Nigerian Correctional Centres.
The event had so many rights activists in attendance calling for the protection of the fundamental human rights of the citizens.