Pay TV operator StarTimes has acquired the broadcasting rights to matches in Spain’s La Liga football division, which will be aired on its platform in Nigeria from next season.
StarTimes’ entry into La Liga aims to redefine the pay TV sector, attract more Nigerians to the league and end the exclusivity clause in live sports content broadcasting rights in Nigeria following the government’s prohibition of exclusivity rights in broadcasting sporting events in the country.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, had directed the National Broadcasting Commission to implement a new regulation mandating broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share such rights with other broadcasters.
“This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly or market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcasters in the television and radio markets,” he said.
Football lovers will be able to watch live Spanish top-tier league matches on the StarTimes platform.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has instructed broadcasters and licensees to refrain from acquiring foreign sporting rights that will exclude other broadcasters in Nigeria from sub-licensing them.
Armstrong Idachaba, acting director general of the NBC, told a press briefing in Abuja that the decision to amend the NBC code is key to repositioning the broadcasting industry and making it more responsive, to protect it from monopolistic and anti-competitive behavior and stimulate advertising revenue, and by extension, the local creative industry.
Acknowledging the mixed reaction to the release of the amendment, he said the commission would take this into consideration.
“Only recently, on March 27, I announced the release of some amendments to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (6th Edition). The commission wishes to reiterate the fact that the objectives of the amendments are in our national best interest,” he said.
“We currently have a highly rated and hugely talented creative industry in Nigeria, but the fact remains that content producers are unable to harness the benefits of their creative endowment due largely to monopolistic restrictions and anti-competitive behaviour. There is no doubt that the Nigerian broadcasting industry is facing a series of challenges. These include inability for the broadcasters to generate required funds from advertising and programming.
“Local producers of content are no longer able to create content for television. This has led to an influx of foreign production companies, some of them unregistered and unlicensed by the Nigerian government. These companies have taken over the local content production space and, by extension, the advertising and broadcasting space, relegating local entrepreneurs to oblivion. The commission believes in the broadcasting industry but this must be done with a noble philosophy to promote our own national dreams and vision.’’
Commending all those who have contributed to the debate about the amendment, he added that the change to the code will improve investment in Nigeria and benefit media entrepreneurs and audiences.
“We know that broadcasting is dynamic; so are the challenges to regulation. The commission has noted all the concerns and observations, especially on 9.0.1 and 6.2.8. Section 6.2.8, which clearly points that, ‘Exclusivity shall not be allowed for sporting rights in the Nigerian territory and in furtherance thereof, no broadcaster or licensee shall license or acquire foreign sporting rights in such a manner as to exclude persons, broadcasters or licensees in Nigeria from sub-licensing the same.’
“Similarly, on 9.0.1, the point is that a broadcaster or licensee shall immediately after the coming into force of this amendment be prohibited from effecting informal agreements, written and oral agreements, explicit or implicit understandings or implementing concerted practices either exclusively or between market players that have as their object, intent, effect or purpose the restriction of competition, abuse of a dominant position or of substantial market power or create barriers to entry in the broadcast media industry in Nigeria.”
Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined three Ondo State broadcast stations for code violations relating to unverifiable claims and a lack of professionalism in broadcasting news about Covid-19.
The three operators punished for their reporting on the coronavirus are Breez FM in Akure, which has been fined N250,000, Adaba FM (Akure, two N500,000 fines) and Albarika FM (Illorin, N250,000).
A further 25 stations have also been sanctioned for violating areas of the NBC code dealing with obscenity, political breaches, hate speech, unprofessionalism, advertisement, technical issues and unverifiable claims.
Armstrong Idachaba, acting director general of the NBC, said the sanctions came after the organisation’s Q1 2020 profile of broadcasting stations in the country.
He stressed the need for all broadcasters to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004.
Meanwhile, Idachaba also offered an update on regulation relating to the digital switchover. The NBC is considering a new licence fee regime and broadcast signal distributor carriage fees for digital terrestrial television (DTT) operators.
“The new rates would affect national free-view DTT, regional free-view DTT and local free-view DTT,” he said. “The committee expects all licensed DTT operators to commence payment of the new fees, which are lower than the fees in the analogue era.”
The Federal Ministry of Education and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) are planning to start radio and television broadcasts for pupils as a result of the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the ministry, the broadcast classes will begin in May if the education ministry, the FRCN, the Nigerian Television Authority and the National Broadcasting Commission are able to finalise plans for operational licences and the purchase of transmitters.
Classes to be aired would follow a timetable, after which examination may be conducted.
The minister of education, Adamu Adamu, had earlier said that the government will begin basic primary school classes on the national media to enable pupils to learn during the Covid-19 pandemic break.
Ben Goong, the director of press at the ministry, said: “We are taking the next step between Friday and Tuesday. There will be a radio component and a television component. We plan to create a different network on the FRCN so that we don’t break into the established listening schedules.
“The broadcast will run from morning to night, covering all subjects such as mathematics and English. We will segment the programmes into classes. What we plan is to bring the best hands from our schools to take the subjects. We will use the best in specific subjects. The issue of inability to deliver well will not arise.
“Two, the broadcast will be uniform. What is being taught in Jigawa, Sokoto will be watched in Lagos. There will be series of subjects in a day for different classes. There will be nothing like, ‘Our teachers didn’t come to school today.’
“When it is time for exams, you register in the centre nearest to you and you write your exams, class by class. It will be impossible with these broadcasts for children to still be regarded as out-of-school children. We are likely to bring the request letter formally from the ministry in the coming week to FRCN. Due process must be followed.”
He added that this would eradicate the problem of rising out-of-school children, currently put at about 10.2 million, as well as bridge the gap created by the closure of schools during the pandemic.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned all broadcast stations against airing programmes about the Covid-19 pandemic that have no verifiable claims.
The NBC has observed a spike in the spread of fake news and misinformation, which is harming the fight against the virus, and has said it would not hesitate to impose severe sanctions on any channels that carries unverifiable claims.
The NBC highlighted sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which states that the broadcaster must ensure every programme is accurate and credible; descriptions, claims, testimonials or illustrations in an advertisement relating to verifiable facts should be easily be substantiated; and that the broadcaster must ensure an advertisement is not broadcast if it contains an offer to diagnose or treat conditions by myth or superstitious beliefs and practice.
According to the NBC: “The coronavirus has been declared a global pandemic and no station shall allow its platform to be used to undermine the seriousness of the virus, and all broadcast stations are responsible for all contents that they transmit.”
Ekanem Antia, assistant director of public affairs, said: “In compliance with the directives of the commission for pay TV to decrypt the signals of local channels on their platforms for one month, in the first instance, to enable viewers get adequate information and directives during the Covid-19 pandemic, free TV has announced unrestricted access for customers during the lockdown.”
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister for information and culture, said: “If you go by WhatsApp, there are so many myths and cures for Covid-19 today. Some people will tell you it cannot affect Africans or the disease is not even existing at all, while some will say all you need to do is to take garlic or ginger.
“As we speak today, there is no vaccine or medicine for Covid-19. The only weapon to combat the virus is what we call non-pharmaceutical intervention, which largely means sensitisation, advocacy, keeping very good hygiene, social distancing, not shaking hands and not gathering.
“These are the only effective ways to contain the pandemic and that is why governments are declaring total lockdowns. Once it starts spreading, no healthcare in the world can survive it.”
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has commended the management of Yaba College of Technology for providing quality equipment for Yabatech Radio 89.3FM.
The commendation was given by the zonal director of the NBC, Chibuike Ogwumike, when he toured all broadcasting stations within the Lagos zonal office to familiarise himself with their system of operation, while also ensuring the stations do not run foul of the NBC code.
Another aim of the tour was to enhance mutual cooperation between Yabatech and NBC, ensure that the national broadcasting code is being adhered to strictly and to assess its level of preparedness before going into full broadcasting.
“I’m really impressed with the level of facilities put in place here, the equipment I have seen here is of top quality, which some commercial radio stations in Lagos do not have,” he said.
He added that the NBC would partner with Yabatech Radio in the areas of training, retraining and molding of future broadcasters.
Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has approved 65 new radio and digital television licences across various regions of the country.
This comes months after the president’s recent move to license radio and television stations, which sparked mixed reactions.
The beneficiaries include the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp, which each acquired a radio FM broadcasting licence; the Nigeria Customs Service, with radio and television licences; Blueprint newspapers, which received a freeview digital terrestrial television licence; Rhola Vision Engineering, Leadership Group and Abuja Municipal Area Council, amongst others.
The NBC said: “Consequent upon the approval granted by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the National Broadcasting Commission has released the list of 65 successful companies and institutions of higher learning recently granted radio, digital television and university campus radio broadcasting.
“In summary, 43 companies have been granted FM radio broadcasting licenses, eight campus FM radio broadcasting licences, one community FM radio broadcasting licence and 13 freeview digital terrestrial television licences.”
However, according to the commission, there were no available frequencies for assignment in Lagos and Abuja.
The director-general of Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, has been suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The move comes after the Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) last year asked the federal government to suspend any government official facing corruption charges.
Kawu was arraigned last year before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the federal high court, Abuja, by the ICPC. Along with Pinnacle Communications Ltd chairman Lucky Omoluwa and chief operating officer Dipo Onifade, he was charged with complicity in the misapplication of the N2.5 billion seed grant for Nigeria’s digital switchover programme.
Twelve charges were filed against the trio, including abuse of office, money laundering and misleading a public officer with the intent to defraud the federal government.
Kawu’s position has now been taken over by the most senior director in the commission.
The National Broadcasting Commission has been instructed by Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to roll out measures to reposition the broadcasting industry.
The minister issued a directive in Abuja last week calling on broadcasters to use Nigerian independent producers to fulfil the regulatory requirement to offer 70% local content. The move is intended to promote local content, boost the advertising industry, create jobs and ensure the industry is up to speed with global best practices.
“This directive covers the provision for the regulation of the web and online TV/radio; regulation of international broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria; hate speech; human resource and staff welfare; funding for the reforms implementation; monitoring; independence of the regulator and ease of issuing licences, as well as competition and monopoly issues,” he said.
The Nigerian government has moved to end pay TV group MultiChoice’s monopoly on broadcasting sporting events in the country.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the country’s minister of information and culture, has issued a directive to end the group’s exclusive right to air high-profile sports events and also urged the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to re-position the broadcasting industry.
In line with a report approved by president Muhammadu Buhari, the minister has instructed broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share previously exclusive rights with other broadcasters.
“This regulation prevents the misuse of monopoly, market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcaster in the television and radio markets,” he said.
The move has “removed exclusivity from all content in Nigeria and mandated the sharing of all content upon the payment of commercially viable fees,” Mohammed added.
The breaking up of the monopoly will boost reach, maximise the utilisation by all broadcasters of premium content and grow their platforms and investment in other content, he said.
“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity. In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices. You cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access. Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out,” said Mohammed.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) are set to release guidelines for the implementation of TV white space for rural broadband connectivity in Nigeria.
TV white space refers to the unused broadcasting frequencies in the wireless spectrum, which can be used to deliver broadband internet.
In a statement signed by director of public affairs Henry Nkemadu, the NCC revealed it would organise an industry consultation to present the draft guidelines to all stakeholders.
“In preparation for the industry consultation, the commission is pleased to inform all stakeholders that the draft guidelines will be available on the commission’s website,” the statement said.
“All stakeholders are invited to peruse the guidelines and provide input/feedback on or before the industry consultation (date to be announced). The feedback will give the NCC/NBC the opportunity to make all necessary adjustments prior to the guidelines being finalised.”
Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has revealed the government intends to put a stop to the country’s broadcasting monopolies because of the effect they have on the TV industry’s potential.
He made the announcement at a recent a meeting with online publishers in Lagos, adding that he had implemented reforms and inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission reform implementation committee to impose stiffer penalties on those who violate broadcast regulations.
“A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable,” Mohammed said.
“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talent and discourage creativity. The clearest example of the creative energy that can be unleashed when monopoly is totally broken can be seen in the telecommunications industry.”
As part of the shake-up, MultiChoice’s current monopoly over the live airing of important sporting events will end.
“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices. You cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access. Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out,” Mohammed added.
Although DStv has the monopoly on the live broadcasting of the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League in Nigeria, a source within the ministry suggested the new era of liberalisation is expected to allow sporting events to be accessed by other pay TV and free-to-air platforms.
The head of Gospell Digital Technology, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, has revealed that over N45bn will be required to allow digital broadcasting to take off in Nigeria.
Ohuabunwa, CEO and group MD, whose company makes set-top boxes in the Calabar Free Trade Zone, made the claim recently after his facilities were inspected by members of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) board.
He said the federal government is yet to release the previously approved N15bn to the NBC to facilitate the switchover from analogue to digital.
He claimed the delay in switching over could cost his company about US$50m, which has already been invested in human and material resources.
“If this digital switchover fails to take place, more than US$50m will be lost on our own side, not to mention by other people. On the job alone, we are going to lose about 5,000 to 6,000 direct jobs. This is why it’s a huge problem.
“We are worried that the delay in the NBC announcing its timetable is beginning to negatively impact on our production. We know how much resources, in terms of capital and human resources, we have put in for our dream to be realised.”
He urged the NBC to release a comprehensive timetable that will guide the digital switchover.
New regulations have been promised by Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, to safeguard online broadcasters in the country.
He made the announcement at the inauguration of the seven-member National Broadcasting Commission Reform Implementation Committee in Abuja.
The reforms were recommended by a committee Mohammed had set up at the direction of president Muhammadu Buhari as a result of the unprofessional conduct of some broadcast stations.
The committee, which has been given six weeks to submit its report, is chaired by the director of broadcast monitoring at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Armstrong Idachaba, while the chief press secretary at the ministry of information and culture, Joe Mutah, will serve as secretary.
Other members are Godfrey Ohuabunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); Joseph Ehicheoya, director of legal services at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture; Binta Bello, secretary general of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON); Ibrahim Jimoh, director of administration at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria; and Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, a member of the NBC board.
The approved recommendations include an increase in fines for breaches relating to hate speech from N500,000 to N5m and the reclassification of divisive comments to Class A offences in the broadcasting code, plus the amendment of the NBC act to enable the NBC to license web TV and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria.
The terms of reference of the implementation committee are: “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 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 to the board of the NBC.”
Mohammed added: “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.”
Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) has asked the government to suspend the director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, and 32 civil servants over corruption charges.
The officials are currently facing a corruption trial for offences such as certificate forgery, bribery, making false statements, conspiring to steal and misappropriation of public funds, and the ICPC has stated that they should be suspended from office until the cases are concluded.
The offences the charges relate to are defined as specific acts “of very wrongdoing and improper behaviour which is inimical to the image of the service and which can be investigated and, if proven, may lead to dismissal.”
Kawu, who was arraigned alongside Lucky Omoluwa and Dipo Onifade over an alleged US$6.9m fraud as seed grant for the government’s digital switchover programme in May, is accused of using his position to benefit Omoluwa, his associate and friend.
The offence is punishable under the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act of 2000.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned it will sanction television stations that violate the nation’s broadcasting code.
NBC chairman Ikra Bilbis and director-general Modibbo Kawu made the announcement during the commission’s fifth annual lecture series, held in Abuja.
Kawu said: “The duty of regulating broadcasting becomes ever more challenging as the number of stations being licensed to operate increases by the day.The NBC has to keep up with the growing number of licences, amongst whom are those who believe they should not be regulated, or who regularly air content that leaves much to be desired from the perspective of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”
According to Bilbis, the commission is focusing on a number of initiatives to ensure broadcasting in Nigeria is on a par with the rest of the world.
“We must again ponder at the power of the broadcast media which can affect people’s thinking and behaviour for good or evil. Such a medium with monumental influence on society cannot be unregulated. As you are all aware, the NBC was established some 27 years ago. Its primary mandate was to initiate and promote private ownership of broadcasting in Nigeria, after close to 60 years of government sole ownership of the industry,” he added.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, said that he would ensure the broadcast industry and information sector moves to the next level of prosperity.
“Let me reiterate that president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has great respect for the media and still continues to work with them as partners,” he said. “In recent times, our information space has been flooded with content that tests the unity and peace of the country. This content circulates within the social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and many other social media platforms.
“Some of this content, which is mostly unverifiable, finds ways into the mainstream media in the form of fake news. I will enjoin the broadcast media to constructively make use of social media content with a great sense of patriotism for peace and unity in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian government has complained about the sexual content of reality show Big Brother Naija and has said it is planning a ‘state-owned’ version of the format with the show’s broadcaster.
The government lodged a complaint with the National Broadcasting Commission over the overt sexual content of the show and has said it and pay TV operator StarTimes will launch a new Big Brother Naija that will be a true reflection of Nigerian culture.
Segun Runsewe, director general of the National Council for Arts and Culture will present a nudity bill to punish sexual acts displayed on Big Brother Naija will be presented by the agency.
Speaking during a visit by the president of the National Council of Women Societies, Gloria Shoda, Runsewe said: “We are going to represent that bill. You can’t fight a battle without a legal framework; we are definitely going to be conscious of that.
“I will take up the issue of Big Brother Naija. I have spoken with officials of the National Broadcasting Commission because what is going on now is terrible. Having love affairs on the screen is not part of our own culture at all.
“Let me use this forum to tell Nigerians that a new Big Brother Naija is on its way and we are working with StarTimes. We are doing a Big Brother Naija that will reflect the true Nigerian culture. We are already working on it. All that will be eaten there will be Nigerian food, the dresses will be Nigerian dresses.”
Although Shoda claimed she had nothing against the show she said: “Having live sex on stage is the thing affecting my sensibility and it is impacting negatively on young children. Does it mean that they can’t abstain from sex for three months?.”
The University of Ilorin is to set up its own community television station.
Vice chauncellor Professor Sulyman Abdulkareem announced the plan at the 10th anniversary celebrations for the institution’s radio station and the launching of the book UNILORIN 89.3 FM @ 10 – a Decade of Broadcasting Excellence
Abdulkareem said the move would be unprecedented in the history of community broadcasting in Nigeria and was possible as a result of the success of the radio station.
“We can again be a trailblazer in campus television broadcasting, thereby adding extra value to the social, cultural and educational experiences of our students and that of the people in communities around us,” he said.
Adding that the radio station had met the objectives for which it was established, Abdulkareem acknowledged that it had also helped in the training of students across various departments at the university.
“I must say, proudly, that the steadfastness, purposefulness and professionalism with which our campus radio set pace in campus radio broadcasting is worthy of celebration today,” he said. “It has produced new talents through the opportunities it has been consistently providing for students to learn, in practical terms, radio broadcasting.”
Ishaq Modibo-Kawu, director general of the National Broadcasting Commission, who was also at the event, noted that broadcasting had vital roles to play in assisting in the achievement of sustainable development programmes.
He recalled that when the first television service in Africa was established in 1959 the vision of Chief Obafemi Awolowo was to use it as an avenue for assisting the free education programme in the region.
“It was a very important victory for all of us in broadcasting that Nigeria opened up the aperture of campus broadcasting, first from the University of Lagos and, subsequently, all over Nigeria,” he said.
“If we understand that concept in the context defined by the United Nations system, or as domesticated within our own realities, our national struggle against underdevelopment must be apprehended within the framework of the effort to attain sustainable development.”
The radio station was set up on August 13, 2009 and trains and prepares students for careers in the media as well as for community development purposes.
The National Broadcasting Commission has introduced the sixth edition of the Nigerian broadcasting code in an attempt to counter ‘fake news’ and improve professionalism in the country’s broadcast industry.
NBC director general Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu said: “The new broadcasting code will reposition Nigeria’s broadcasting landscape and also tackle the issues of hate speech and fake news that characterise the industry.”
Kawu added that the government was pressing ahead with its national digital switchover project despite a shortage of funds, with the process underway in all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
Once the national analogue signal is switched off, pay TV operators will no longer broadcast free-to-air channels. A new timetable should be expected once the commission’s board gives approval, Kawu said.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has resolved its dispute with Daar Communications, the owner of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power FM.
The NBC has lifted the suspension of Daar’s broadcast licence, while the media group has withdrawn its court case against the commission.
The dispute was resolved via a meeting attended by Daar founder Raymond Dokpesi and and NBC director-general Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu, as well as Nduka Obaigbena, president of the Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN); Ismaila Funtua, former president of NPAN; and Sam Amuka, publisher of the Vanguard newspaper.
The NBC had suspended Daar’s licence over breaches of its Nigeria Broadcasting Code. It also accused the company of a lack of editorial balance and said it had failed to pay licence fees.
Daar had countered that its editorial team was free to comment on the issues of the day under section 39 of the Nigerian constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas without interference.
To resolve the dispute, Daar agreed to work out a realistic licence payment plan with the NBC and to appoint an ombudsman to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially when it comes to political commentary. It also pledged to take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media.