The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the apprehension and attack on him over the recently amended sixth edition of the National Broadcasting Code was baseless.
The Minister, who was a guest on NTA live programme: “Good Morning Nigeria,” monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja, said the amendment of the code was well intentioned.
He said the amended code will reposition the broadcast industry in a manner that will benefit all stakeholders and practitioners.
Mohammed said: “It is unfortunate that even those who would benefit in the new regime have been so carried away and confused by critics of the amended code that they are also attacking us.
“Those we are protecting are those who are vociferous in our attack.”
NAN reports that the amended code introduces new rules and regulations on web/online broadcasting, local contents, production of advertising for local goods and services, music, acquisition of sports rights, exclusivity and national emergencies.
Speaking on exclusivity, the most controversial of the amendments, the minister said the government rejigged the code to stop monopoly and boost local contents.
Mohammed said: “Anywhere you have monopoly and exclusivity, growth is hampered, particularly as it relates to local contents.
“We said, henceforth, you cannot go and buy a series or opera or rights for sports and refuse to sell to Nigerians.
“For instance, if you buy Premier League, and a small operator approaches you to resell, you must resell to him.
“We will not dictate the price at which you are going to resell but you must resell at a price to be agreed by both parties.
“I want to say that it is only in Africa that you have exclusivity and monopoly of contents as a business model.
“In the UK, you watch Premier League on any channel.”
Mohammed said the amended code also ensures that in sport, when an advertiser spends about $1 million in promoting foreign league, the advertiser must also invest 30 per cent of that money in promoting local league.
The minister said the code also ensures that films, music, advertisement and series meant for consumption by Nigerians must be made in Nigeria.
“With the amended code, you cannot go and make your advertisement, films or reality show outside Nigeria and bring it to play on our airwaves.
“Why must you go outside Nigeria to make a film or advertisement that can be done in Nigeria.”
Mohammed said because TV stations and producers were being owed so much money, the code states that if an advertiser owes a station money, such advertiser cannot place advert on another channel until the indebtedness is cleared.
Mohammed said contrary to what was being speculated, the amended code is not to favour anybody but to benefit every stakeholders and practitioners in the industry.