Stakeholders at the ongoing National Broadcasting Commission NBC code review have been urged to ensure that the outcome of the review reflects on the changing priority of the present time.
The Minister of Information and Culture in Nigeria, Lai Mohammed at the opening ceremony of a three day event in Kano State, said that there was need for the code review to meet the challenges of transition from the analogue to digital broadcasting.
He urged the NBC as the apex regulator of the broadcast industry in Nigeria to equip itself with modern digital technology, so that it can perform its monitoring function creditably.
According to him, the review should equally look at the situation where programmes for Nigerian viewers are domicile in another country.
“There is the need for the retreat to take a critical look at the existing code with the view to avoiding the situation where programmes meant for Nigerian viewers are domicile in another country.”
“This is an issue of national pride that cannot be swept under the carpet for whatever reason. The code of the NBC has not dealt with this issue before, probably because it was not anticipated, so this retreat provides the right time and opportunity to correct the anomalies,” the Minister explained.
The Director General NBC, Ishaq Modibo said in order to ensure professionalism in broadcasting, the code has to be reviewed in line with Nigeria’s political aspiration and expected to serve as a central document to keep professionals in check.
“We intend to produce a guiding document for professional engagement in Nigerian broadcasting industry that will turn to be a document for the effective use of new technology in tune with the nation’s political aspirations,” he said.
The Chairman of the Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria, Mr. John Momoh urged the NBC to review the payment of annual levy and turnover made by broadcast stations in Nigeria, in order to protect and truly corporate with the stations.
“The expansion should include definitions that are currently missing such as annual income, the meaning of Grade A breach, broadcast operatives, regulatory agency among others that require proper interpretations sections,” Momoh explained.
The Governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje warns against political programmes that are full of unguided statements thereby, causing disregard to persons and constituted authorities regulated by NBC.
It was also suggested that the commission should ensure that conflict sensitive and gender sensitive reporting is enshrined in the new code to guide journalist on how to investigate and use languages while reporting conflict.
The Federation of International women lawyers is seeking for an amendment to the NBC code to enhance more women participation in broadcast activities, especially from the communities.
They also want the “code to detoxify derogative words used against women in the broadcast industry.”
The National Human Right Commission is demanding for an amendment that will give independence to the NBC, so that it can be free from manipulation by politicians and government while carrying out its regulatory functions.
Other stakeholders suggest for increase in fines paid as penalties to deter media houses from airing programs that contain hate speech among others.
The three days event is expected to chart new focus for the regulatory agency.