Attack On Press Freedom: Buhari Regime Announces Plan To Regulate Online Media

Attack On Press Freedom: Buhari Regime Announces Plan To Regulate Online Media

By Manny Akpan | News Reporter on October 14, 2019
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A picture taken on June 29, 2015 in Abuja shows spokesman of the ruling All Progressives Congress and Ministerial nominee Lai Mohammed. | AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei/Getty Images

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information of culture, has said online news platforms will soon be regulated.

The minister said this on Thursday, October 10, 2019 in Abuja when he inaugurated a seven-man committee set up to implement reforms in the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Mohammed said the reforms that will be implemented by the committee are recommendations approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He said Buhari approved an amendment to the NBC act to enable it to license WebTv and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into the country.

“The terms of reference of the committee are as follows; To establish and publish a new regulation for the licensing of web and internet broadcasters/international broadcasters in Nigeria,” he said.

“To immediately commence work on all statutory, legal and regulatory framework for further legislative action on the review of the NBC act by the national assembly.

“To work out the modalities for a competitive and reasonable salaries, wages and other welfare needs of the staff of the commission.

“To establish necessary protocols for the establishment or appointment of professionals or technocrats (non-partisan personality) to run the agency, and appointment into the board of the NBC.”

The minister said the president also approved the upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5 million for breaches relating to hate speeches, and the upgrade of political comments relating to the same to ”Class A” offence in the broadcasting code.

“I have no doubt that this committee, which comprises highly-experienced professionals and administrators, will carry out a thorough job that will reposition the NBC as an effective and efficient regulator,” he said.

Members of the committee are: Armstrong Idachaba, NBC director of monitoring (chairman); Godfrey Ohuabunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); J.K. Ehicheoya, director, legal services, ministry of Information and Culture; Binta Adamu Bello, secretary, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); Ibrahim Jimoh, director of administration, FRCN; Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, NBC board member and Joe Mutah, chief press secretary, ministry of information and culture (secretary).

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