- VOA, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, others also affected as FG amends broadcasting code
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Online radio and television stations are now required to obtain licenses to broadcast in Nigeria, following the federal government’s approval of this new requirement.
A source at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), who cited amendments to the Broadcast Code, also said foreign radio and television stations beaming signals into Nigeria such as the Voice of America (VOA), BBC, and Radio Deutsche Welle, CNN, Al Jazeera would also be required to obtain broadcasting licenses.
The approval of a wide ranging reforms in the broadcast industry by President Muhammadu Buhari was confirmed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed yesterday, when members of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) paid him a courtesy visit and to request a review of the Broadcast Code.
Mohammad said President Buhari had approved that WebTVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters, beaming signals into Nigeria, should be licensed to bring sanity into the industry.
“I just want to use this opportunity to inform you that Mr. President has actually already approved a review of the Broadcast Code that is going to take care of many of the issues you have already raised here.
“He has approved that WebTVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, will be licensed because we must bring sanity into this industry. Mr. President has also approved a wide range of reforms in the industry which, at the appropriate platform, I will let you know,” the minister said.
The minister promised to carry along members of BON in the review of the Broadcast Code, even as he restated the commitment of the present administration to free media.
“I have said it at many platforms that this administration is not about to gag the press. No! But we will appeal to the press to please self-regulate for the sake of this country and also for the sake of the industry itself,” Mohammed said.
He appealed to BON to partner the government in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and cohesion in order to engender progress and national development.
“Today, if anybody listens to what is being said on some radio or television stations, you will think that this country is at war or that Christians actually cannot live with Muslims or that there is a dichotomy between the North and the South. I think we need to appeal to you to use your platforms for the unity and cohesion of the country,” he said.
At the occasion, the acting Chairman of BON, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, said the re-appointment of the minister was deserved as he brought life and great innovation to the broadcast industry during the first tenure of the administration.
He assured that BON would key into the government’s agenda, especially the fight against fake news.