Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately implement measures aimed at repositioning Nigeria’s broadcast industry.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the directive in Abuja following the submission of the report of the committee mandated to map out the modalities for the implementation of the recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to reposition the broadcast industry.
The directive by the government, according to the Special Assistant to Mohammed, Segun Adeyemi, covered “the provision for the regulation of the web and online television/radio; regulation of international broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria; hate speech; human resource and staff welfare; funding for the implementation of the reforms; monitoring; independence of the regulator and ease of issuing licenses, as well as competition and monopoly issues.”
Mohammed said the directive was aimed at sanitising the industry, creating jobs, promoting local content, boosting the advert industry and bringing the broadcast industry up to par with the best practices from around the world.
The Minister further directed the NBC to focus on the new regulations to compel broadcasters to utilise the content and services of Nigerian independent producers.
This, Mohammed added, was in fulfilment of the regulatory requirements for 70 per cent local content, rather than the current abuse of the rules which allowed many loopholes for the production of such content in jurisdictions outside Nigeria.
“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.
“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.
“Similar provision will prohibit exclusivity of sporting rights in Nigeria, as a new regulation now mandates broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share such rights with other broadcasters to boost reach and also maximize utilization by all broadcasters of premium content, in order to grow their platforms and investment in other content.
”This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcasters in the television and radio markets, having removed exclusivity from all content in Nigeria and mandated the sharing of all content upon the payment of commercially viable fees,” Mohammed said.