By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to reposition the broadcast industry by implementing measures that will create jobs, promote local contents, boost the advert industry and place the broadcast industry at par with the best practices from around the world.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who gave the order on Thursday, said the directive was in tune with the submission of the report of the committee which he set up to work out the modalities for implementing the recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to re-position the broadcast industry.
He charged NBC to take the necessary measures to effect the implementation of the various provisions in the report.
The minister said the directive will cover the provision for the regulation of the web and online TV/radio, regulation of international broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, hate speech, human resource and staff welfare, funding for the reforms implementation, monitoring, independence of the regulator and ease of issuing licenses as well as competition and monopoly issues.
Some of the highlights in the directive include new regulations to compel broadcasters to utilise the content and services of Nigerian independent producers, in fulfillment of the regulatory requirements for 70% local content, rather than the current abuse of the rules which allow many loopholes for the production of such content in jurisdictions outside Nigeria. This will empower local producers with proper funding and investment, enhance foreign collaborations, develop the local industry, raise the standard of local productions and ultimately lead to job creation.
By the new regulations, the producers of content are to pay for adverts and sponsored content placed on all TV, radio and broadcast platforms and must ensure that the production of adverts are localised to create and promote local production and, where it is not, to attract a charge every time such an advert is aired, with the charge being put into a fund to help develop local expertise in production.
In the same breath, broadcasters are prevented from illegal and unpaid use of musical works without payment of the applicable license fees and/or royalties required by music rights owners.
Mohammed also said similar provision will prohibit exclusivity of sporting rights in Nigeria, as a new regulation now mandates broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share such rights with other broadcasters to boost reach and also maximise utilisation by all broadcasters of premium content, in order to grow their platforms and investment in other content.
”This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcaster in the television and radio markets, having removed exclusivity from all content in Nigeria and mandated the sharing of all content upon the payment of commercially viable fees,” the Mohammed said.
He expressed optimism that the new regulations, which are due to come into effect this month, will re-energise the broadcast industry, deliver real value in the sector and grow the creative industry for the benefit of the practitioners.