Nigeria: Broadcasting Commission Raises Hate Speech Fine to U.S.$12,940

5 August 2020

Lagos — The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has increased the fine for hate speeches from N500, 000 to N5million to serve as a deterrent to repeat offenders.

The minister disclosed this at the unveiling of the new amendment to the 6th Edition of the Broadcasting Code in Lagos on Tuesday.

The minister said the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019 general elections, 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 elections.

Lai said: "In the build-up to the 2019 elections, if politicians approached broadcast houses to air offensive material and were turned down because of the fear of being fined by the NBC, the politicians doubled the fees to accommodate the fines.

"So, even with the new rate of N5 million, if you pay and continue to accommodate hate speech, we will have no choice but to withdraw your license."

The amendments are mostly in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising and anti-competitive behaviour.

Speaking on the provisions on exclusivity and monopoly, the minister explained that the antitrust provision would 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 as well as encourage open access to premium content.

"I must explain that this provision is not new to Nigeria Broadcasting. Exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the history of our broadcasting. I recall Multichoice sub-licensing EPL matches to other local operators in Nigeria. I recall HITV engaging several local operators on sub-licensing the EPL when they got the rights," he added.

Similarly, 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 could be in the area of security, protection for minors, and protection of human dignity, economic fraud, and privacy.

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