Lai Mohammed in fresh move to regulate social media, broadcasting

Lai Mohammed in fresh move to regulate social media, broadcasting

Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has reportedly commenced moves to reintroduce the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act amendment bill through the executive bill route.

This was contained in a report issued on Tuesday, February 1, by The Cable, noting that the bill seeks to empower the commission with the power to regulate social media, internet broadcasting, fix tariffs for pay television services, among other functions.

According to insiders privy to the development, the first step by Lai Mohammed towards the reintroduction of the amendment as an executive bill will be executed on Tuesday at a meeting in Benin, Edo state.

The meeting will be attended by officials of the ministry of information, the NBC, and the National Information Development Agency (NITDA), among others.

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According to the report, the meeting is a smokescreen to indicate that there was wide consultation of industry stakeholders; before the presentation of the executive bill to the national assembly.

Insiders say the executive bill will be simultaneously presented to both chambers of the national assembly and an accelerated passage will be carried out.

On August 4, 2020, Lai Mohammed launched the sixth national broadcasting code in Lagos; despite industry-wide opposition.

Industry stakeholders had branded the code as agenda-driven; noting that they were excluded from making inputs before it was finalised.

On several occasions, CSOs and media stakeholders have rejected amendments; to the NBC code by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The amendment seeks to give NBC the power to regulate content; on social and online media in Nigeria, including licensing them.

It also seeks to regulate content exclusivity; enforce content sharing and empower NBC to determine prices; at which content is sold to sub-licensees by right holders.

Since his appointment as information minister, Lai Mohammed has continually called for the regulation of social media.

In October 2020, the minister said social media will destroy the country if the federal government does not regulate it.

In August 2021, the minister again said the federal government will not rest until social media platforms are regulated.

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