It’s kudos and applause for the federal government over the recent amendments to the Nigerian Broadcasting Code. This is coming from creative industry practitioners under a popular WhatsApp group, FILMIC.
FILMIC members, through daily online discussions and a mini colloquium held in October 2019 at Filmhouse, Oniru, Lagos, deliberated on the NBC Broadcast Code, and thereafter met with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to present their thoughts on the same issue.
With members drawn from the movie, music, fashion, advertising, media and finance sectors of the Nigerian economy, the WhatsApp group was founded by Charles Novia, CEO, Teen Africa TV. And since inception in June 2019, the group has held monthly screenings of films by producers, alongside two unique events including FILMIC Mini-Colloquium and FILMIC Old School Evening.
Reacting to the newly amended code, member and star actress, Omotola Ekeinde said, “This is a good development for the content industry. We are all in this together and we must protect our local industry with practices that empower the stakeholders more. We must begin to think Nigeria first for our creative industry and work together to make this work.”
For Obi Asika, a creative industry entrepreneur, “This was long overdue. People give blood and sweat and tears to ensure the creative industry works and aspects of the old code were stifling, and we as stakeholders, felt that in this new decade, things have to change and it will change.”
Also speaking, CEO of Digital Interactive Media, Sola Fajobi believes that, “If the agencies are mandated to pre-pay for all Advert placements on TV shows, more producers can invest well and in better quality content.”
On his part, Victor Okpala, Head, Dope 7 Media, believes that, “we must work to earn what we consume and not wait for it to be handed down to us.” This was just as Emeka Osai expressed the need for prompt implementation. “The new amendments is a very welcome development especially for independent content producers like me. My next prayer is for prompt implementation and monitory for enduring benefits.”
Content producer, Greg Odutayo, noted that a situation whereby foreign content enjoy better airtime is a disservice to the local television industry. He said: “We all must do what needs to be done to protect our industry, not for you and I because we are fine but for generations to come. Local content is sacrosanct and 70% is not too much. One of the biggest disservices that were done to the TV industry was when this madam in NTA years ago went and bought The Rich Also Cry. We are still crying till today as foreign soaps took over the prime time. The industry fought and got back the prime time through NBC legislation during Emeka Mba’s tenure, I think, that legislated that 7pm to 10pm must be local content. This was the boom period for TV producers. Ask around. Although a lot of stations were not compliant. We all must ensure that the rules are respected. This is the only way content can get produced and jobs can be created.”
Odutayo, who is not averse to penalty for producing local content abroad, said: “I absolutely love the bit about paying a fine if you produce your commercials abroad. I have produced in Ghana, next door here. I had a Ghana company and there was a minimum number of Ghanaians that I must employ. Our residence permit allowed us to have only five foreigners. I know the fight that I have done over time to protect jobs in Nigeria when I was NANTAP President… I don’t want to talk about the sports franchise as my knowledge there is somewhat limited, but we must support NBC and the current legislation. It’s a win-win for us all, only if we all support it.”