The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined three stations over the broadcast of invariable content on COVID-19 and also sanctioned 28 others for other violations against the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
The Acting Director-General of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, made this known at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.
Idachaba said the three stations fined were Adaba FM and Breeze FM, all in Akure, as well as Albarka FM, Ilorin.
He said that the stations were fined N250,000 each for broadcasting invariable claims and misleading information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NBC boss further stated that 28 other stations were sanctioned for violation of the code in areas bordering on hate speech, obscenity, technical breach, advertisement, invariable claims and unprofessionalism.
“All the stations have been either queried or sanctioned according to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
” The commission wishes to, again, re-emphasise that all broadcasters must adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and National Broadcast Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004,” Idachaba said.
On reforms by the NBC, Idachaba said the amendment of the sixth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari made provisions for local content in the broadcast industry.
According to him, it also makes provision for increased advertising revenue for local broadcast stations and content producers.
“It also creates restrictions for monopolistic and anti-competitive behaviour in the broadcast industry. It further makes provision for responsibility for broadcast stations during national emergencies.
” I am glad that the work is ready now, and the commission has published the provisions of the amendment of the code,” he said.
On Digital Switch Over (DSO), the NBC boss explained that the commission was considering a new licence-free regime and broadcast signal distributors carriages fees for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) operators.
“The new rates would affect National Free-view DTT, Rational Free-view DTT and Local Free-view DTT.
” The committee expects all licenced DTT operators to commence payment of the new fees which is lower than the fees in the analogue era.
“However, very important progressive steps are being taken for the actualisation of the DSO.
“There have been several online meetings with various players and stakeholders in the digital ecosystem.
” We have concluded plans for a new timeline, indicating new cities where we are moving to and the details will be released once the lockdown is fully eased,” he said.
He called on all broadcasters and workers in the media industry to stay safe in the face of the raging pandemic.