The Federal Government has raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to 5 million Naira. According to PUNCH, the government has also mandated broadcast stations(radio, television) to use their airtime for public education and enlightenment on emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed made this known in a statement while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos State. Lai Mohammed said the amendments in the code were necessitated by a presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections for an in-depth inquiry into the laws guiding the National Broadcasting Commission regarding the conduct of the different broadcast stations both before, during and after the elections.
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The minister disclosed that the recommendations were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as a way of repositioning the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising, and anti-competitive behavior.
Mohammed explained that section 2h of the NBC Act empowers the commission to establish and disseminate a National Broadcasting Code.
“There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:
“The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly 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.”
The federal government has been battling with hate speech and fake news on social media platforms. The national assembly has also been working on legislation that will criminalize deliberate misinformation on social media platforms.
Lai Mohammed also stated that “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.* ADS**
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