The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said on Tuesday the Federal Government had raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
Mohammed, who disclosed this while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos, said the government had mandated broadcast stations to devote more time for public education on emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the federal government had amended the broadcasting code, adding that the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive 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 2019 general election.
The minister disclosed that the recommendations were approved by President Mohammed Buhari in order to reposition the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising, and anti-competitive behaviour.
He said: “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 law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content.
“The law on the 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 provision on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies 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.”
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