The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on July 4, 2019 launched the sixth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which it said has been strengthened to enhance professionalism and development in Nigeria’s broadcast industry as well as enriched to address issues such as hate and dangerous speech, among others.
Speaking at the launch in Kano, the Kano State capital, the Director General of the Commission, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, represented by Mallam Mujtaba Sada, the Commission’s Secretary, said the new broadcasting code will reposition the Nigerian broadcasting landscape and address the preponderance of hate speech and fake news that characterise the industry.
The NBC DG said the new code will reflect some of the recommendations made by the committee the Commission constituted to review the 2015 general elections with a view to taming the menace of hate speech and unprofessional conduct of some media practitioners in the country.
He said the sixth edition code had been produced since 2017 but the launch was delayed due to a combination of issues.
Launching the Code, the Commission’s DG said: “This is the document that will guide our work over the next couple of years. The Nigeria Broadcasting Code is not an imposition by the regulator on the licensees. This is a document that the industry worked on collectively and it is a product of very exacting professional application. I implore our colleagues to work the straight and narrow path of professionalism which the Code prescribes. That is the only way that we can have a Nigeria broadcasting industry which would reflect the very best of our dear country.”
The 6th Edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Mallam Kawu disclosed, has been enriched at three levels: the position of the Code has been strengthened in respect of hate and dangerous speech; a strong, patriotic, affirmative aspiration for acceptable local contents has been reflected in the letters of the 6th Nigeria Broadcasting Code; and it also
reflects the conviction that Nigeria’s sports in general ought to get the advertising funding support that matches a reasonable percentage of the huge amount of advertising funds that supports foreign sporting activities.
Mallam Kawu disclosed that on his appointment as DG of the Commission in May 2016, it became very clear to him that there was the need to review the existing Nigeria Broadcasting Code adding, “the democratic transfer of power from an incumbent government to the opposition for the first time in Nigeria, exposed problems which the application of the 5th Edition of the Code had not sufficiently captured.”
Mallam Kawu added: “… the dynamism of the technologies applied in broadcasting and communications in general, needed to be constantly taken into the context of praxis in the industry, as well as the platform of regulatory direction which National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), must constantly work from.”
He then delved into the journey to the Digital Switch Over (DSO), with the launch of a pilot phase of the project in Jos in April 2016 followed by subsequent launches in Abuja, Ilorin, Kaduna, Enugu and Oshogbo up to February 2018. The Commission, he added, is preparing to launch the DSO in other locations around the country as well as preparing the definitive commencement of Analogue Switch Off (ASO), with the launch of the DSO in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and several other locations in the nearest future.
Recalling the meeting the NBC held in Kaduna, he said he reminded his colleagues that the Code“should reflect the very best elements of Nigeria’s democratic aspirations and should become document that is for and of the Nigerian people,” and that it had to be put in a broad context that must be clear in people’s minds, especially with the changes taking place in broadcasting.
He pointed out that “The world of broadcasting is definitively evolving from what we have always known, to a new era, with its peculiar challenges: the exciting possibilities as well as the frightening ghost that might accompany the (digital) transition.”