The Federal Government has asked the House of Representatives to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act to empower the agency to regulate social and online media.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the request in Abuja, on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, during a public hearing on a bill to amend the National Broadcasting Commission Act, organsed by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values.
Section two (b) of the NBC act states, “(1) The Commission shall have [the] responsibility of: Receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations including (i) cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting.”
Mohammed, however, wants the commission to also be able to regulate the online media in addition to other channels of broadcasting.
According to him, “I want to add here specifically that internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have a responsibility to monitor contents, including Twitter.”
However, the International Press Council (IPC), the Institute for Media and Society as well as the Radio Television and Theatre Arts Workers’ Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) kicked against inclusion of internet broadcast and online media IN the category of broadcast service licenses, saying it would be injurious to the civic space, freedom of expression and media freedom.