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5 Aug 2020

FG Increases Hate Speech Fine From N500,000 To 5 Million Naira

The Federal Government on Tuesday raised the fine for hate speech from
N500,000 to 5 million naira.


The government also mandated broadcast stations to devote airtime for
public education and enlightenment on emergencies such as the Covid-19
pandemic.


The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, made this known in Lagos on
Tuesday while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code.
This was contained in a statement by the Federal Ministry of
Information and Culture, titled, 'Remarks By The Hon. Minister Of
Information And Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, At The Unveiling Of The
Reviewed Broadcasting Code In Lagos On Tuesday, Aug. 4th 2020'.
According to the statement made available on the social media
platforms of the ministry, Mohammed said the amendments were
necessitated by a Presidential directive, in the wake of the 2019
general elections, for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the
National Broadcasting Commission as well as the conduct of the various
broadcast stations before, during and after the elections.


The minister noted that the recommendations were approved by President
Mohammed Buhari, to reposition the NBC to perform its regulatory role
better mostly in the areas of political broadcasting, local content,
coverage of emergencies, advertising, and anti-competitive behaviour.

Mohammed, who explained that section 2h of the NBC Act empowers the
Commission to establish and disseminate a National
Broadcasting Code, said, "There are many desirable provisions in the
new Broadcasting Code:
"The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly will boost local content
and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by
broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire
market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium
content.
"The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely
promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of
content.
"The law on registration of Web Broadcasting grants the country the
opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us
as a nation. Such harms could be in the area of security, protection
for minors, protection of human dignity, economic fraud, privacy etc.
"The provisions on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote
airtime to national emergencies: This provision obviously mandates
terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to
Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing Covid-19
pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.
"The provision raising the fine for hate speech from 500,000 Naira to
5 million Naira."

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