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FG increases hate speech fine to N5million, moves against monopoly and antitrust

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Buhari government’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed today in Lagos disclosed that the administration has increased the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m.

He said the hike in the penalty fee was the fallout of a Presidential directive which seeks to strengthen regulatory functions of the National Broadcasting Commission as well as interrogate the conduct of the various broadcast stations during and after the 2019 general elections.

This information was contained in his remarks at the unveiling of the Revised Broadcasting Code by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

According to the press statement issued by Mohammed’s media aide, Segun Adeyemi, the new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code which contains Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.

The Minister said that the Antitrust provision 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. The provision will also open access to premium content.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, ‘’I must explain that this provision is not new to Nigeria Broadcasting. Exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the history of our broadcasting. I recall Multichoice sub-licensing EPL matches to other local operators in Nigeria. I recall HITV engaging several local operators on sub-licensing the EPL when they got the rights.”

The revised code also contains law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts as well as the law on the registration of Web Broadcasting, which will grant the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can threaten the security of the country.

He said further: ‘’The provisions on the responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies…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.

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