The Board of the National Broadcasting Commission has called for more input from stakeholders to the 6th Broadcasting Code Amendment.
The call was contained in a statement on Thursday by the Chairman of the Board of the Commission, Aliyu Ikra Bilbis, following the position of some concerned stakeholders on the proposed amendments.
Bilbis said in the statement: “Sequel to the decision of the Board of the National Broadcasting Commission in their last Board Meeting held on the 11th of June 2020, where a Press Statement was released to the public by the Board, seeking time to further study the proposed amendments in effort to smoothen the rough edges of the amendment to the 6th Edition of the Code.
“The Board of the National Broadcasting Commission hereby resolved and approved today the 18th day of June, 2020 that fresh letters of invitation should be written to all stakeholders in the industry, especially those with genuine observations aimed at improving the quality of the Code to submit their input to the proposed amendment in writing to the Commission not later than 2nd July, 2020.”
The NBC had earlier in the week in a statement by its Acting Director General, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, said the sixth edition of the Broadcasting Code Amendment was to protect local operators, promote creativity and maximise local contents.
Idachaba gave the explanation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the amendment would benefit the media industry in the country as well as attract foreign investments in the digital space.
According to him: “The amendment, which is without bias, will checkmate monopolistic and anti/competitive behaviour and by extension enhance the local creative industry.
“The objectives behind the amendment is key and pivotal to the development of broadcasting in Nigeria and the reform of the industry.
“However, while the NBC acknowledges the mixed reactions by some interests to the release of the amendment, we consider them strategic and healthy for the growth and development of the broadcast industry in Nigeria.
“I want to sincerely commend those who have intellectualised and enriched the discourse with incisive and decent arguments both for and against.
“The NBC wishes to reiterate the fact that the objectives of the amendments are in our national best interests.”
Idachaba stressed that the country has highly rated and hugely talented creative industry, but content producers were unable to harness the benefits of their creative endowment due to monopolistic restrictions and anti-competitive behaviour.
He noted that the nation’s broadcasting industry faced series of challenges, which include inability of broadcasters to generate required funds from advertising and programming.
Idachaba also noted that local producers of content were no longer able to create contents for television.
This, he said, had culminated in influx of some foreign production companies that were not registered and licensed by the Nigerian Government.
Idachaba said it was regrettable that those companies took over the local content production space and by extension advertising and broadcasting space, relegating the local entrepreneurs.
He said: “The commission believes foreign investments in the industry should be done with the noble philosophy to promote our own national dreams and vision.
“The amendments to the code do not and will not in any way prevent foreign investments.
“It simply says carry the Nigerian broadcasters along.
“However, we believe that if properly executed, these provisions will make rapid benefits for those who invest in Nigeria and the benefit of Nigerian media entrepreneurs and audiences.
“The commission has noted all the concerns and observations, especially on sections 9.0.1 and 6.2.8.”
Idachaba said the intent was to promote and safeguard the Nigerian broadcasting industry and stimulate the maximisation of its potentials.
“Investors in the broadcasting industry in Nigeria are welcomed and we want to assure them that the code is unbiased and has made adequate provisions to protect their businesses,” he said.