Lai Mohammed inaugurates Committee on National Broadcasting Commission Reforms


Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
inaugurated a seven-member Committee on the Implementation of Reforms
in the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

In his remarks at the inauguration in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister
said the reforms are part of the recommendations of a committee which
he earlier set up on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari over
the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations,
especially before and during the last general elections.

He listed the highlights of the recommendations approved by
Mr. President as including the review of the National Broadcasting
Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect an upward review of fines
from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches relating to hate speeches,
inciting comments and indecency; wilful repeat of infractions on three
occasions after levying fine on a station to attract suspension of
license; upgrade of breach of political comments relating to hate
speeches and divisive comments to ”Class A” offence in the
Broadcasting Code and the amendment of the NBC Act to enable NBC
license WebTv and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters
beaming signals into Nigeria

Mohammed said the approved recommendations also include
the independence of the NBC from political interference in the exercise
of its regulatory powers, particularly with respect to the issuance and
withdrawal of broadcasting license; recruitment of more monitoring
staff for the NBC, as currently there are only about 200 Staff monitoring
about 1,000 radio and television stations; deployment of adequate monitoring
equipment and technologies for the NBC and the enhancement of welfare
packages of NBC staff to avoid their compromise in the line of duty

The Terms of Reference of the Implementation Committee, as listed by
the Minister, include to Immediately commence work on all statutory,
legal and regulatory framework for further legislative action on the
review of the NBC Act by the National Assembly; to immediately assess
and propose equipment, materials and training needed to make the NBC a
modern and well-positioned regulator and to liaise with relevant
agencies to ensure the provision of the manpower needs of the
Commission to enable it function optimally.

He said the Committee is also to immediately establish and publicize a new
sanctioning, fines and penalty regime that is in line with
international best practice, promote professionalism and serve as a
deterrent to erring practitioners against misconduct, especially hate
speech, violence and spread of fake news.

The Committee is also saddled with the responsibility of establishing
and publishing a new regulation for the licensing of Web and Internet
broadcasters/International broadcasters in Nigeria, in addition to
ending all forms of monopoly detrimental to the actualization of the
immense potential of the broadcast industry.

The Committee is chaired by the Director, Broadcast Monitoring of the
NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, while the Chief Press Secretary,
Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mr. Joe Mutah, will serve
as Secretary.

Other members are Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, Acting Chairman of the
Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); Mr. J.K. Ehicheoya, Esq,
Director, Legal Services, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture;
Hajia Binta Adamu Bello, Secretary General, Association of Local
Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); Mr. Ibrahim Jimoh, Director of
Administration, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; Hon. Agbo
Kingsley Ndubuisi, Board Member, NBC, as members.

The Committee has six weeks to submit its report.

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