Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has disclosed that the online media space in Nigeria will soon be regulated.
According to TheCable, Mohammed made the disclosure on Thursday, October 10, 2019, in Abuja when he inaugurated a seven-man committee set up to implement reforms in the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The minister said President Buhari approved an amendment to the NBC act to enable it to license WebTv and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into the country.
“The terms of reference of the committee are as follows; To establish and publish a new regulation for the licensing of web and internet broadcasters/international broadcasters in Nigeria.
“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 work out the modalities for 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,” Mohammed was quoted as saying.
The minister added that the president also approved the upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5 million for breaches relating to hate speeches, and the upgrade of political comments relating to ”Class A” offense in the broadcasting code.
“I have no doubt that this committee, which comprises highly-experienced professionals and administrators, will carry out a thorough job that will reposition the NBC as an effective and efficient regulator,” Mohammed said.
THE WAR ON HATE SPEECH
Speaking in Lagos on Friday, January 22, 2016, Mohammed vowed that the Buhari administration had no plans to regulate online media.
President Buhari has repeatedly denounced “hate speech” on social media in recent national broadcasts.
On October 1, 2019, Buhari’s Independence Day address contained the following words: “Our attention is increasingly being focused on cyber-crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive material being propagated on social media.
“Whilst we uphold the constitutional rights of our people to freedom of expression and association, where the purported exercise of these rights infringes on the rights of other citizens or threatens to undermine our national security, we will take firm and decisive action.”