Stakeholders in the broadcasting sector have called on the Federal Government to use the Digital Switch Over project to reform the disruption in the television content space.
The stakeholders made the appeal in Lagos during an engagement of the Ministerial Task Force on Digital Switch Over with them.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is the Chairman of the task force, presided over the meeting.
Specifically, the stakeholders underscored the need to jettison foreign contents, particularly for children, which had made younger ones alien to their traditional culture and values.
Theo Akatugba, the Vice President of Electronic Media Content Owners Association of Nigeria, said the country had lost out in the areas of promoting cultural values, unity and integrity of the nation through television contents.
He said there was the need to use the opportunity created by the DSO, which would offer at least 63 channels, to retrace the missing steps by creating relevant content to feel the space.
Akatugba said: “As we speak today, a lot of things are happening and the TV space is being disrupted.
“We have lost it, our culture is changing and this is because of the international programmes we are throwing at our children without caution.
“None of the international children programmes on our TV space is fit for Nigeria.
“The DSO is an opportunity for us to get back all we have lost by creating and supporting contents that must be culturally relevant to Nigerian child.”
Akatugba gave the example of Ghana, which, he said, at a time, opened up its television content space without caution.
He said the result was content promoting money rituals, voodoo, while ritualists, extortionists and Churches took over the channels.
He, therefore, called on the stakeholders to think out of the box and create contents that will enable every frame of the FreeTv contents to preserve culture, values and promote unity and national diversity.
Akatugba declared the support of EMCOAN for the minister in the task of executing the DSO project, the amendment to the National Broadcasting Code and the general reform in the broadcasting sector.
Kenny Ogungbe, who represented the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria at the event, similarly declared their support for the minister.
Ogungbe, however, called on the Minister to consider their request for a reduction in the licensing fee paid by their members.
Ogungbe also underscored the need to ensure that the carriage fee to be paid by broadcast stations on DSO platform to signal distributors is reasonable.
He said government should also ensure that the Set-Top Box, which is the decoder for the Free TV, is available and affordable for the common man.
Earlier, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, said the meeting was put together to aggregate the involvement of stakeholders, especially those in Lagos, on the imperatives of the digital transition.
He recalled that the country commenced the DSO in 2016 with the pilot in Jos and subsequent roll out in other four states: Kaduna, Kwara, Enugu and Osun, as well as Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Idachaba said the digital switch on in Lagos slated for April 29 is very significant because the state is the media hub of the country, the most populated city and advertising melting point.
He assured that all the stakeholders in the DSO project would work to ensure a hitch-free switch on in Lagos and other states.
In his concluding remarks, Mohammed assured that all the issues raised by the stakeholders would be addressed to ensure a successful transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.