- FG set to recommend social media.
- Blog owners will have to purchase licenses from the NBC.
The Federal Government has said it was working on how to inject sanity into social media which it said was currently out of control.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at a press conference in Abuja.
According to Mohammed, no responsible government would sit back and allow such activities capable of setting the country on fire to continue unchecked.
“Specifically, I set up committee on the implementation of the recommendations that were approved by Mr. President to inject sanity into the nation’s broadcast industry, following the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations, especially before and during the last general elections.
“The highlights of the recommendations are as follows:
i) 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.
“ii) 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.
“It has reached a level that the government may just no longer fold its arms and allow this to continue,” he said.
He further revealed that amendment of the NBC Act to enable the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to license WebTv and radio stations.
He added that there will be a recruitment of more monitoring staff for NBC.
“At the moment, there are only about 200 Staff monitoring about 1,000 radio and television stations.”
Mohamed also stated that there would be a deployment of adequate monitoring equipment and technologies for the NBC and, enhancement of welfare packages of NBC staff to avoid their compromise in the line of duty.
The minister also said no amount of attacks or criticism would stop the government from implementing the tougher sanctions for broadcast stations that breach the nation’s broadcast code. He said this is necessary as it concerns the dissemination of fake news as well as inciteful and divisive comments which were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
“In the first instance, let me say this. No amount of attacks, sponsored or otherwise, will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations.
“And only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at putting an end to fake news and hate speech, especially in our broadcast industry.”
He added that the committee set up for the review is also saddled with ending all forms of monopoly detrimental to the actualization of the immense potential of the broadcast industry.
“A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable.
“Once the committee submits its report, we will immediately kick-start the implementation of the approved measures to inject sanity into our broadcast industry.
“Since I launched the committee on the implementation of the approved measures, there have been reactions. Many have hailed our efforts at seeking to bring sanity to the airwaves, while some have attacked us and accused us of trying to stifle press freedom or gag journalists.
He also assured stakeholders that responsible journalists have nothing to fear as the government’s intention is not to gag the media.
He said the intention of the government was to restore sanity to the nation’s airwave.
“But, as I have been saying, we have no intention of stifling free speech or gagging journalists or anyone. Again, this Administration has no intention of muzzling the media or stifling free speech. Our campaign is against fake news and hate speech.