FG raises hate speech fine from N500k to N5m


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The Federal Government has raised the fine for hate speech for broadcasting stations in the country from N500,000 to N5 million.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this during his speech at the launch of the Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos today.

He said that an amendment to the 6th Edition of the code was necessitated by a Presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections, for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after the elections.

“Following the inquiry, Mr. President approved many recommendations that will reposition the NBC to perform its regulatory
role better. Key among the recommendations is the need to amend the provisions in the Code and Act.

“The amendments are mostly in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising and anti-competitive behaviour,” Mohammed said.

The minister noted that Section 2h of the NBC Act specifically empowers the Commission to establish and disseminate a National
Broadcasting Code and set standards with regard to the content and quality of materials for broadcast.

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Explaining the provisions in the Reviewed Broadcasting Code, the minister said, “There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:

“The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly: This Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium content…

“Sub-licensing and Rights sharing create opportunities for local operators to also gain traction and raise revenue for their services

“The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content

“The law on registration of Web Broadcasting grants the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us as a nation. Such harms could be in the area of security, protection for minors, protection of human dignity, economic fraud, privacy etc.

“The provisions on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies: This provision obviously mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.

“The provision raising the fine for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to 5 million Naira.”

Mohammed explained that to arrive at the new Broadcasting Code, NBC explored democratic channels to engage and factor in the views of stakeholders.

“What I have observed in the reactions to the last amendment are interests who believe that their singular business interest is superior to the national interest.

“Therefore, they have resorted to all kinds of blackmail, using hack writers,” the minister said.

Mohammed added, “The Broadcasting Code is not a static document. As we often say, broadcasting is dynamic. Therefore, even the 6th Edition of the Code shall be reviewed at the appropriate time.

“But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria. Our intention remains the good of the country. We need to catalyze the growth of the local industry. We need to create jobs for our teeming creative youths. The opportunities must be created and we believe that effective regulatory interventions are a sure way of attaining this. That’s why we will not waver.

“For those who still have misgivings about the amendment to the 6th Edition of the Code, we expect you to meet with the regulator and present your views.

“As I said, there are opportunities for constant review of the Code, but please note that this latest amendment is signed, sealed and delivered, and we are committed to making it work for the good of the country.”

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