Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Former Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to step up the transition to Digital Switch Over (DSO), with a caveat that without the migration the country’s digital economy is at the risk of being negatively impacted.
He issued the warning at the weekend in Abuja at a send-off organised in his honour by NBC management.
“Today, DSO has been launched in 12 states and we can do more. Without DSO our broadcast economy will be in shackles. Until we free our spectrum and we transit from analogue, we will be sitting on gold not knowing what to do with it,” Mohammed said.
He also urged NBC to work closely with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to ensure it derives the dividends of DSO whenever the spectrum is sold.
The former minister also recalled that the national broadcasting code was amended in 2015 to ensure the protection of every Nigerian, the industry and restore sanity to the industry.
He, however, lamented that the government was misunderstood and insulted through the amendment.
He said one of the clauses that was amended was compulsory licensing and accessing to premium content.
“The amended clause in paragraph 6:3 under wholesale over … It mandates rights owners to offer sports and news programmes for retail to all channels and commercial subscribers in Nigeria. The objective is to enable a level playing field by reducing barriers to entry by allowing carrying of a robust bouquet of channels, thereby fostering competition amongst players rather than technology.
“We wanted to encourage Nigerians who have set up broadcast stations in making sure the big guys like Multi-choice do not kill small channels. We said if Multi-choice goes to buy the Premier League, it must on demand from any other small station resell that right so that it will not need to buy a decoder to watch the matches in the PL. unfortunately, we were misunderstood,” Mohammed said.