Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has said that online news platforms in the country will soon be regulated.
The minister said this on Thursday 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 Mr 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.
He further stated that “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).