FG Inaugurates NBC Committee To Review Fines On Hate Speeches, Others

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Reform Implementation Committee to review fines on hate speeches and inciting comments.

Mr. Lai Mohammed in a press briefing on Thursday gave an upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5,000,000 for breaches of these offences.

Read Full Statement Below: 

REMARKS BY THE HONORABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI
LAI MOHAMMED, AT THE INAUGURATION OF THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING
COMMISSION (NBC) REFORM IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE IN LAGOS ON THURSDAY,
OCT. 9TH 2019

Good morning everyone, and welcome to this inauguration.

2. Please permit me to most sincerely thank the lady and gentlemen
whom I have appointed to serve in the National Broadcasting Commission
(NBC) Reform Implementation Committee.

I am most delighted that you all made it here, despite the fairly-short notice. This is a testament to your patriotism, and I thank you all

3. Before I proceed to the reason we are here today, let me give you
a quick background.

Following deliberations at the Federal Executive
Council (FEC) of March 27th, 2019, on the unprofessional and unethical
conduct of some broadcast stations, especially before and during the
last general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari directed me to
institute an inquiry into the conduct of the stations and
report back to the Council.

4. Consequently, I inaugurated a five-member committee on Wednesday,
April 10th 2019 with the following terms of reference:

– Find out to what extent the NBC was able to effectively carry out
its regulatory role before and during the 2019 general elections.
– Recommend measures that could strengthen the NBC’s regulatory role
and make it more effective.

5. The committee submitted its report on April 24th 2019, with 26
recommendations, and I subsequently forwarded the report to Mr.
President, who has since approved them.

6. Highlights of the recommendations approved by Mr. President are as follows:
A) Independence of the NBC from political interference in the
exercise of its regulatory powers, particularly with respect to the
issuance and withdrawal of broadcasting licence.

B) A review of the National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting
laws to reflect the following amendments;

– 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.

– Amendment of the NBC Act to enable NBC license WebTv and radio
stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria

C) Recruitment of more monitoring staff for the NBC. At the moment,
there are only about 200 Staff monitoring about 1,000 radio and
television stations.

D) Deployment of adequate monitoring equipment and technologies for the NBC
E) Enhancement of welfare packages of NBC staff to avoid their
compromise in the line of duty

7. We are now at the implementation stage, hence I have appointed
seven ‘wise’ men and woman to design the framework for the
implementation. The members are:

A) Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, Director of Monitoring of the NBC.

B) Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, Acting Chairman of the Broadcasting
Organisations of Nigeria (BON).

C) J.K. Ehicheoya, Esq, Director, Legal Services, Federal Ministry of
Information and Culture.

D) Hajia Binta Adamu Bello, Secretary, Association of Local
Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

E) Mr. Ibrahim Jimoh, Director of Administration, (FRCN).

F) Hon. Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, Board Member, (NBC).

G) Mr. Joe Mutah, Chief Press Secretary, Federal Ministry of
Information and Culture

Prof. Idachaba will serve as the Chairman of the Committee, while Mr.
Mutah will be the Secretary.

8. The terms of reference of the committee are as follows:

– To implement the recommendations of the committee on the NBC
reforms as approved by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.

– 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.

– To liaise with relevant agencies to ensure the provision of the
manpower needs of the Commission to enable it to function optimally.

– To work out the modalities for a competitive and reasonable
salaries, wages and other welfare needs of the staff of the Commission.

– To establish necessary protocols for the establishment or
appointment of professionals or technocrats (non-partisan personality)
to run the agency, and appointment into the board of the NBC.

– 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 the erring.

practitioners against misconduct, especially hate speech, violence and
the spread of fake news.

– To establish and publish a new regulation for the licensing of Web
and Internet broadcasters/International broadcasters in Nigeria.

– And finally to end all forms of monopoly detrimental to the actualization of the immense potential of the broadcast industry

The Committee has six weeks to submit its report

9. I have no doubt that this Committee, which comprises
highly-experienced professionals and administrators will carry out a
a thorough job that will re-position the NBC as an effective and
efficient regulator

10. Once again, I thank you all for accepting to serve on this
Committee and I wish you successful deliberations

NBC Sanctions 45 Stations, Cautions BBNaija Against ‘Unwholesome Contents’

Ekiti Broadcasting Service To Resume Operations After NBC Shutdown

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sanctioned about 45 broadcasting stations and cautioned producers of the reality television programme, Big Brother Naija (BBN) against broadcasting “unwholesome content” in the country.

The broadcast stations were sanctioned for allegedly breaching NBC’s code.

Director-General of NBC, Mallam Ishaq Kawu disclosed this while addressing a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the contraventions included breaches of the rules on hate speech, abusive, obscene and vulgar lyrics including inflammatory broadcast.

“Thus as many as 45 stations were fined, the second quarter indicates that the trend has continued among certain stations, especially in political programmes.

“Therefore 20 stations were fined in the 2nd Quarter, for breaching provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code on hate speech.

“Other breaches were in the area of obscene and vulgar lyrics- a total of 10 stations were fined for infractions related to use of vulgar lyrics and obscene content.

“It is worth mentioning that the program Big Brother Naija was cautioned against unwholesome content on its broadcast.”

NBC also expressed concern over the continuous flouting of the broadcasting code by DAAR Communications PLC, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypowe F.M.

“The second quarter indicates that the trend has continued among certain stations especially in political programming.

“Our monitoring activities indicated that some stations especially AIT are deliberately meddling in the cases before the election tribunal

They, therefore, warned the affected stations against continuous breaching of NBC code, hence will be severely sanctioned.

NBC Withdraws Suspension Notice On DAAR Communications

 

The National Broadcasting Commission has withdrawn the suspension notice it issued to DAAR Communications on June 7, 2019.

The NBC had suspended the operating license of DAAR Communications PLC following allegations of its inability to pay the license renewal fees and hate speeches, among other things.

While the commission says it will continue to clamp down on licensees who choose to pay what they deem fit as their licensing fees, it says its decision is based on an agreement reached by both parties in court.

Part of the agreement is that DAAR Communications will take full responsibility of the use of content sourced from social media.

Another is that the broadcaster will submit a proposal for the payment of its outstanding fees.

Daar Communications Plc is the parent company of Africa Independent Television (AIT), and Ray Power 100.5 FM (in Abuja and Lagos)

PDP Hails Court Order On DAAR Communications Suspension

ICYMI: PDP Seeks Prayers For National Rebirth At Easter

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has hailed the order of a Federal High Court in the case of DAAR communications and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which asked that the parties should maintain status quo pending a hearing on June 13, 2019.

The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday commended the Judiciary for upholding justice and the tenets of democracy, particularly the right of fair hearing.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commends the judiciary for upholding justice and the tenets of democracy, particularly the right of fair hearing, by ordering the immediate reopening of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio.

READ ALSO: Court Asks DAAR/NBC To Maintain Status Quo

The statement who condemned the suspension said such should not be encouraged in a democratic dispensation.

Our party holds that media intimidation, as a feature of a military regime, must not be allowed in a democratic order, adding that there is no way democracy, with its principles and values, can thrive without a free press.

The party also called on the media, as the fourth estate of the realm, not to be cowed but continue to discharge their constitutional duties in national development, in line with its professional ethics and best practices.

SERAP Describes DAAR Communications’ Licence Suspension As ‘Blatant Illegality’

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have described the suspension of the operating licence of DAAR Communications PLC by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as blatant illegality.

The group also said they are considering all the legal options to challenge NBC over the suspension of DAAR Communications licence.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Friday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

We are considering all the legal options to challenge this blatant illegality.

These grounds are so subjective that if allowed to stand would seriously undermine freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information in the country. The mere fact that forms of expression on AIT/Raypower are considered by NBC to be insulting is not sufficient to justify the indefinite suspension. These grounds do not meet the requirements of legality, reasonableness, due process, necessity, and proportionality.

RELATED:

NBC Suspends DAAR Communications License

NBC Suspension Of AIT, Raypower: An Attempt To Gag The Media, Says PDP

The suspension amounts to an unnecessary or disproportionate interference with freedom of expression and media freedom. NBC ought to show a greater level of independence in the exercise of its statutory powers. Without independence, NBC cannot satisfactorily perform its duties. If allowed to stand, this suspension may be perceived as a threat to restrict the media and open the door to limitations on expression and media operations. This would be entirely inconsistent with constitutional provisions and international law, and undermine the governments commitment to fighting grand corruption.

SERAP also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail NBC to immediately end the suspension to strengthen the independence of the NBC, if the countrys constitutional and international legal commitments to freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information are not to be undermined.

Court Asks DAAR/NBC To Maintain Status Quo

Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court has ordered that parties in the case of DAAR communications and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should maintain the status quo pending a hearing on June 13, 2019.

The pending hearing is for NBC to show the cause why the reliefs sort by DAAR communications should not be granted.

DAAR communications had earlier filed a motion seeking an ex parte order of interim injuction in its favour restraining the NBC, whether by themselves, their agents, operatives, servants and/or privies, howsoever called, from blocking, jamming, stopping, removing from air and/or interfering with the airwaves of the plaintiff/applicant in any way and manner howsoever, in its broadcast and airing of news, views, documentaries, or any other legitimate broadcast material that is usually associated with television, radio or social media broadcast pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application.

RELATED:

NBC Suspends DAAR Communications License

NBC Suspension Of AIT, Raypower: An Attempt To Gag The Media, Says PDP

Alternatively, they asked the court for an order to maintain status quo ante bellum as at May 30, 2019, pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application.

The grounds for bringing this application according to DAAR communication is that in the best tenets and tradition of broadcast and in compliance with section 22 of 1999 constitution.

It’s duties legally, legitimately, morally and nationalistically, in informing, educating and entertaining Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora on sundry matters, which activities have energized and contributed to national development and also nurtured, widened, deepened and strengthened democracy, rule of law, human rights and anti-corruption in Nigeria.

DAAR Communications also averred that since the emergence of the present government, it has been under close surveillance and undue monitoring of its operations by the present government which wrongly believes that the plaintiff/applicant had been too supportive of the immediate past government.

According to their motion Daar Communication also said that sometimes on April 16, 2019, agents of the Federal Government represented by the 1st defendant, in a gestapo- like- manner, attacked and pulled down the two buildings and gates leading to the plaintiff/applicants operational headquarters which damage and destruction run into hundreds of millions of naira.

They also averred that shutting down its broadcast services will deny the majority of Nigerians access to information which is constitutionally guaranteed and its teaming workers of their means of livelihood.

The judge, therefore, adjourned to June 13, 2019, for NBC to show the cause why the reliefs sort by DAAR communications should not be granted.

Police Barricade Entrance To DAAR Communications Office After NBC Sanction

PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

Some Police officers have barricaded the entrance to the Abuja office of DAAR Communications, owners of African Independent Television (AIT), Raypower and Faaji FM on Friday morning.

Workers who tried to gain entrance into the premises were stopped following the suspension placed on the media outfit by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

RELATED: NBC Suspends DAAR Communications License

NBC Suspension Of AIT, Raypower: An Attempt To Gag The Media, Says PDP

Court Asks DAAR/NBC To Maintain Status Quo

NBC said that DAAR Communications is allegedly unable to pay the license renewal fees, used as a medium to spread hate speeches, as well as being used for selfish political ends.

See photos below:

Shutting Down DAAR Communication Is Not An Option BON

 

The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has reacted to the recent suspension of DAAR Communications by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), saying the move is not an option the regulatory body should have adopted.

The organisation through its Vice Chairman, Godfrey Ohuabunwa who was a guest on Channels Televisions News at 10, said there are other options available to address the issues raised.

He stressed that the sanction is not a good development, owing to the varying harassment journalists are faced with on a regular basis.

For us as a broadcast industry, we don’t think its a good development, the reason being that at this time, shutting down DAAR Communication is not the option.

We assume and we know that under international rules and engagement, as a regulator if there is an infraction by any of the broadcasters, I don’t think to shut down under this circumstance should be the action.

I believe that there are other options available to NBC to deal with this matter, they could have fined them or do other things, he added.

RELATED: NBC Suspends DAAR Communications License

NBC Suspension Of AIT, Raypower: An Attempt To Gag The Media, Says PDP

He called for the review of the NBC Act presently at the National Assembly because such sanctions deserve to be appealed.

But one thing this has brought to the fore is that it is high time that the NBC act is reviewed as we know it is presently at the National Assembly and I think that one of the things that should be taken cognisance of is that there should be room for appeal.

Because in any law, people have the opportunity to appeal, so if an infraction happens and a decision taken like this is hard.

In the last couple of years, the press and journalists have been cowed down in several ways, harassed.

NBC could have fined them as an option, shutting down is not an option. What do you gain by shutting down a TV station? he asked.

Ekiti Broadcasting Service To Resume Operations Five Months After Being Shutdown

Ekiti Broadcasting Service To Resume Operations Five Months After Being Shutdown

 

The Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State (BSES) is to resume operations next year, five months after it was shut down by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Chief Press Secretary to Governor Kayode Fayemi, Yinka Oyebode, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

He revealed that the governor has given approval for BSES to commence operation on January 1, 2019, following its re-opening by the NBC.

The commission ordered the closure of the state-owned broadcast station on July 15, for breaching provisions of the Broadcasting Code.

READ ALSO: Ekiti Election: NBC Shuts Down Ekiti Broadcast Service

According to the NBC, the broadcast service breached the Electoral Act and Broadcasting Code by allowing former Governor Ayodele Fayose to announce results of the July 14 governorship election in favour of his then deputy, Professor Kolapo Olusola.

While the statement did not say when the NBC lifted the ban on BSES, the regulatory body has yet to officially confirm the development.

Oyebode, however, explained that the re-opening of the broadcast service followed the submission of the report of a panel set up by the state government to look into the remote and immediate causes of the closure.

He added that following Governor Fayemi’s engagement with NBC leadership, the NBC allowed the station to pay the fines slammed on it in instalment.

The governor, therefore, approved the January 1 commencement date and directed that all arrangements for the re-opening be concluded within the next one week.

He thanked the management of the regulatory body under the leadership of Isha’q Modibbo Kawu for its understanding.

Governor Fayemi assured them that the government would put necessary structures in place to ensure that the BSES was run professionally.

He also directed one of the most senior officials of BSES, Mr Idowu Oguntuase, to be in charge as acting General Manager, pending the outcome of the white paper on the Visitation Panel report.

Ekiti Election: NBC Shuts Down Ekiti Broadcast Service

 

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has ordered the immediate closure of the Ekiti Broadcast Service for breaching provisions of the Broadcasting Code.

According to the NBC, the Ekiti Broadcast Service breached the Electoral Act and Broadcasting Code by allowing Governor Ayodele Fayose to announce results in favour of his deputy and candidate of the PDP, Kolapo Olusola, and declare him the winner of the governorship election in the state.

Beyond what it said was the unauthorised declaration of election results by the governor, the NBC also accused the governor of using the broadcast service to make malicious and unsubstantiated comments against the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), the police and the Department of State Services.

The Ekiti Broadcast Service is to remain shut until further notice.

Ahead of the governorship elections, the NBC had called on broadcasters in the country to adhere to the ethics of election coverage.

The commission had also used its social media platforms to remind broadcasters of the shun bias and to ensure that in using political material for news, they avoid “taking inflamatory and divisive matter in its provocative form”.

 

Digital Switchover: BON Chairman Pledges Support For NBC

BON Chairman, Mr John Momoh, and NBC DG, Mr Is’haq Modibbo Kawu

 

The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria has pledged the support of its members for the National Broadcasting Commission towards ensuring a smooth switchover to digital broadcasting in the country.

Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria and Chairman of Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh, assured the NBC of BON’s support on Thursday at the digital switchover stakeholders’ meeting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

Mr Momoh, who said dynamism is the name of the game, called on broadcasters to be more proactive in the face of new challenges.

“We are witnessing an era where the broadcast industry is presenting great opportunities and at the same time facing some threats. Opportunities in the sense that the whole of broadcasting is changing from content platforms like Apple to OTT services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime through to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And so many companies are eager to get great content,” he said.

“This is where we, as broadcasters, need the support of the NBC – to ensure that it lays the groundwork for future success. The best way for us to invent the future is to put in place the best possible architecture and give the industry the freedom to thrive.”

The Director-General of the NBC, Mr Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, said the year 2018 would be better than previous years with all hands on deck. He also spoke about the prospects and targets of the digital switchover as well as efforts to ensure the impact is felt by all.

The two-day stakeholders’ meeting brings together the major players in Nigeria’s broadcast industry for discussions aimed at ensuring the country gets the digital switchover right.

Lack Of Funds Is Delaying Digital Switch Over – NBC

The Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Mr Modibo Kawu has said that lack of funds is responsible for the delay in the switchover to digital broadcasting.

Mr Kawu explained that broadcasting is expensive and requires a lot of funds and the lack of it has been responsible for the slow pace of action.

He made this known during the inspection of the digital station in Kwara State in the company of the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed.

According to him, the government is trying to prioritize its funding especially because Nigeria just recently recovered from a recession.

“We are going to be launching in phases, that is the decision we took because a digital switchover in a very huge country like this requires a lot of funds and when Nigeria is just moving out of recession.

“The country has to take a decision between putting money in infrastructural development, hospitals and what not and also having to put a huge amount of money into digital switchover. I am sure if the Nigerian government says we are putting all the money into digital switchover, you will be the very first person to complain so the government has to prioritize its funding.

“The national digital switchover will come in phases,” he added.

This comes less than a week after the Chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria Mr John Momoh warned that if the Federal Government does not review the digital switchover process, the deadline for the switchover will not be met.

He said this at the maiden edition of the MTN F.I.R.E Series where he was the inaugural keynote speaker.

Also speaking during the 68th General Assembly of the BON in Abuja, Mr Momoh had accused the regulator of being silent on many critical issues affecting its members.

According to him, Chief among the issues was “the compensation that should accrue to broadcast organisations who will be vacating frequencies in accordance with the White Paper on DSO.”

He, however, noted that the issues have been raised to the office of the Minister of Information and Culture and expressed hope that before the end of the year 2017, some of them would have been favourably resolved.