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Lai Mohammed

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, has maintained that the recently amended sixth edition of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code by the National Broadcasting Commission was in the best interest of the country.

The Minister made the position known on Monday at the NBC’s 28th anniversary and sixth annual lecture held in Abuja.

Recall that the amendment  has drawn criticism from stakeholders in the industry, particularly for raising the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m.e

It will also be recalled that the chairman of the commission’s board, Ikra Bilbis, denied knowledge of the new Code, and accused the Minister to have singlehandedly amended the Code, and indicated his support for further review to accommodate areas of concerns raised by stakeholders.

According to the Minister, “government’s expectation was that the ongoing reforms, including the amendment of the code, would revolutionise the nation’s broadcasting industry.

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“The Federal Executive Council, led by the President Muhammadu Buhari supported the amendments after a review of the 2019 general elections.

“The provision was not new in Nigeria, broadcasting exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the history of the nation’s broadcasting.

“Sublicensing and rights sharing creates opportunities for local operators to also gain traction and revenue for their services,” Mohammed explained.

With the new amendment, he assured that the section of the Code prohibiting backlog of advertising debts would promote sustainability, whereas, the law on the registration of web broadcasting would regulate negative foreign broadcasts that could affect the country negatively.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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